The Elk Man from Perm, Russia

This Postcrossing postcard is also about symbols of a culture (see Folk costumes from Poland), but this time not about a contemporary culture, but an ancient one. It came from Perm, at the geographical centre of Russia, and shows a bronze cast of the Elk Man – a priest or a warrior.Elk Man from Perm

These Perm Animal Style casts were produced by local tribes between the 8th and 10th century and were important in their culture: they were used as totems, as part of costumes or in cult ceremonies. Their symbolic nature is clear: they ‘reflect the ancient peoples’ perception of the universe and man’s place in it’.

On this particular postcard you see the Elk Man who holds a cut human head in the left hand and a long narrow sword in the right hand. As the postcard itself reads: The plots of human sacrifice have been preserved in folklore and rituals of forest peoples of the Urals and Siberia.


About Marian van Bakel

I graduated in International Business Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After my studies I was a Visiting Study Fellow at University of Oxford where I conducted a research on the adjustment of Dutch diplomats and their partners in London. In February 2012 I successfully defended my PhD thesis ‘In Touch with the Dutch’, in which I put expatriates in touch with a Dutch host to examine the effect of this contact on the success of the international assignment. During my PhD research I also worked as in house communication consultant at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently a postdoc at the Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy at the University of Southern Denmark ( Since 2004 I have done extensive voluntary work in the intercultural field for the Young Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research (Young SIETAR). One of my projects was to co-edit and co-author A Suitcase Full of Discoveries (2008), an intercultural storybook for children.
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