Cactus Gallery LA
KOSTYANAYA NOGA by Joe Vollan
Acrylic on wood panel, 6" x 12”, framed to 7 1/2" x 13 1/2"
KOSTYANAYA NOGA (meaning "leg bone") or Baba Yaga as she is more commonly known, always lives in the hut in the deepest part of the forest, and the hut where she dwells is not an ordinary one. It has so called chicken-feet on which it stands. Her home is often surrounded with skulls with their shining eye holes a necessary attribute of hut's exterior.
In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being (or one of a trio of sisters of the same name) who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking old woman. She is depicted as skinny, with iron teeth, and a nose so long that it touchs the ceiling when she sleeps. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on magical chicken legs. Legend says her hut is surrounded by a fence made of human bones.
The characterization of Baba Yaga is where much of the uncertainty surrounding her comes from. She varies between acting as a benefactor and a villain, either helping the hero of the Slavic myth or hindering him or her. Though it appears she never goes after anyone unprovoked, she does appear to follow little or few morals.
She sometimes plays a maternal role, and also has associations with forest wildlife. This enigmatic and ambiguious figure, is sometimes seen as a Cloud, Moon, Death, Winter, Snake, Bird, Pelican, Mermaid or Earth Goddess, totemic matriarchal ancestress, female initiator, phallic mother, and an evil villain who enjoys eating those who fail to complete her tasks. Nevertheless, whatever promise she makes to the hero after his completion of her tasks, she keeps.