Cactus Gallery LA
HITTAVAINEN (Mother of All Hares) by artist Ulla Anobile
Paper mache, driftwood, acrylics, felt, embroidery floss
7 1/2" x 5"
Hittavainen is a forest spirit found in Finnish folklore, the 'emuu' of all hares. 'Emuu' is an archaic word for 'mother', and in this context means the 'ur-mother', or the progenitor, of the entire species. Not a lot is known about Hittavainen. The first mention of her can be found in a 1551 text listing various pagan 'false gods' and spirits. Another text states that she guided hares out from the wintry forest, thus helping hunters, if respectfully petitioned. As I was working on this mask, I remembered that one of the traditional cross stitch patterns I learned in school was called 'jäniksenkäpälä', 'hare's paw'. So I put a modified version of it inside the top knot of my Hittavainen's headdress.