Drawing of Ukonsaari

Drawing of Ukonsaari
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of the small island of Ukonsaari, a Saami sacificial site in Lake Inari.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: 2 September 1873
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Northern Europe
Country: Finland
Region/Place: Lapland; Lake Inari; Ukonsaari
Cultural group: European Saami
Format: Drawing (mounted on card)
Size: 67 x 112 mm; 173 x 245 mm (with mount)
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Primary documentation: ‘[p.588] Dr. JOAN EVANS, from the property of the late SIR ARTHUR EVANS, Youlbury, Boars Hill, Oxford. [List of items follows]’; ‘[p.590] 15 original pencil sketches of types & scenery, chiefly round ENARE, LAPPMARK, FINLAND. Made on journey in 1873. Mounted’: Pitt Rivers Museum accession records (Donations X, 1937–1941), pp.588, 590. Annotations on mount: ‘UKONSAARI On Lake ENARE. Lat 69 [degrees] N./ Island sacred to the God of Thunder, Ukon or Aikes./ Half way up is the grotto used by the Lapps as an offering/-place, & where the silver ear-ring of Arabian workman/-ship was found by us. Sep[tember] 2nd 1873’ (written on mount in brown ink).

Research notes: It has been established by Philip Grover that this drawing was made by Arthur Evans on 2 September 1873, when his travelling party was at Lake Inari. Evans wrote in his journal of the voyage to Finnish Lapland: ‘Our host has shewed us some bones taken from a Lapp sacrificial grotto on an island in the lake of Enara [Inari] - which he owned was still held in great veneration by the wild Fell Lapps of this district - & we resolved at once to go & visit it - He told us that the name of the God to whom the animals were sacrificed was old father “Ukon” [...] A strong gale was blowing & when we got down to the lake, we found it one mass of “white horses”, and lashing the rocks like the sea, tho’ here as before, shut in by numberless islands - We started however - & made the best way we could with the wind dead in our teeth & the waves splashing right over us & threatening to splinter our cockle shell on the black rocks - but at last we caught sight of Ukosuoloi (the Lapp name in Finnish it is Ukonsaari) Ukon[’]s island, a rocky conical height, quite isolated from any land & overtopping all the hills within sight - which seen from its side looks rather like a great tortoise swimming with a head & tail of rock at its end - this longer than it is broad, say 200 yards long, by 200 feet broad, & covered with a profusion of the finest berries we have seen - bilberries, cranberries, cloudberries & several new kinds of mosses & ferns growing in shady nooks in the rocks’ (entry dated 2 September 1873): Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Sir Arthur Evans Archive, B/2/1, Box 1, Notebook 2, pp.69–71. For more information on Arthur Evans’ voyage to Finnish Lapland in 1873, see Joan Evans, Time and Chance: The Story of Arthur Evans and His Forebears (London, 1943), pp.172–176; Ann Brown, Before Knossos...: Arthur Evans’s Travels in the Balkans and Crete (Oxford, 1993), pp.14–16, 90; and Tony Lurcock, No Particular Hurry: British Travellers in Finland, 1830-1917 (London, 2013), pp.123–134, 250.