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Plattes Land: Symbols of Northern Germany

("Expeditions are not over" series)

June 08, 2006 – September 24, 2006

Exhibition is devoted to results of field ethnographic researches in Northern Germany in autumn 2000. This project’s uniqueness consists in the fact that this, first in history of ethnography, international Russian-German expedition has explored regions where remainder of Polabian Slavs remained until the first quarter of XVIII century.

Preparation and carrying out the expedition became one of the steps in expeditionary activity of MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS.  At the same time it is a part of research project “Germaina Slavica” developed by scientists of Leipzig humanities center for the History and Culture of East Central Europe (GWZO) in collaboration with their Russian colleagues from European studies department of MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS.

Exhibition consists of photos and collections, collected during field works in two German regions: South-West Mecklenburg, or “Jabelheide”, and so-called Hannover Wendland. Authors tried to show important elements of village life in plains of Northern Germany, which Germans call “Plattes Land” (‘plain, flat land’) by both scientists’ and informants’ eyes. Nature and people, their dialect, shape of house and settlements, features of church life and holidays – symbols of this region, that reflect the history of long cohabitation of Christian Germans and pagan Wends.

Exposition is supplemented by video records. Fragments of diaries of expedition participants act as annotations.