Transparent People: Areal Spread of Some Concepts of Beauty in the Old World
[Prozrachnye liudi: areal’noe rasprostranenie nekotorykh predstavlenii o krasote v Starom Svete]
Type of publication: Research Article
folklore motifs, tale and epic formulas, cultural contacts, peoples of Eurasia
The article examines the areal distribution of the “transparent bones” (a woman or man has a body so transparent that bones can be seen through the skin and marrow can be seen through the bones) and “transparent neck” (a young woman or man has a neck or throat so transparent that food or drinks swallowed by her or him are seen through it) motifs. Both are based on the idea that bodily transparency is somehow attractive. The motif of “transparent bones” became widespread in Northern Eurasia because of the Russian colonization and may reflect the Finno-Ugric substratum in Russian folklore. The motif of “transparent neck” is attested from the Iberian Peninsula to Eastern Siberia and Borneo. It seems to originate from Central Asia, and enter Turkic folklore via Eastern Iranian tribes, likely the Sogdians, and the Arabic oral tradition via the Persians.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no 14-18-03384]
Duvakin, E.N. 2017. Prozrachnye liudi: areal’noe rasprostranenie nekotorykh predstavlenii o krasote v Starom Svete [Transparent People: Areal Spread of Some Concepts of Beauty in the Old World]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 24-39
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