Pekka Kivikäs


As my readers know, I’m nuts about prehistoric art, particularly that of northern Europe. One site that I check periodically is**, a Finnish portal for archaeology fans. Recently I spotted a notice about some new books (PDF) that have come out.

I’m particularly keen on the two books by Pekka Kivikäs. “Rocks, Landscapes and Rock Paintings”, written in both English and Finnish, is about Finland’s pictographs, based on his many years of research. The other book “Ruotsin Pyyntikulttuurin Kalliokuvat Suomalaisin Silmin” (Sweden’s Prehistoric Rock Paintings Through a Finn’s Eyes), is based on the author’s 12 years of visits to Swedish sites. I’ve been hoping to get my hands on some of his books which have gone out of print, so I’ve eagerly ordered these two new ones from Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, a major bookstore in Helsinki which takes online orders and credit card payment. I can hardly wait.

Kivikäs was the subject of a very early post I wrote when starting this blog. I’ll repeat this quote:

The art teacher Pekka Kivikäs has become well-known for his work as an active documenter and publisher of Finnish rock paintings… the book is aimed at the wide circle of readers interested in the ancient culture of Finno-Ugric regions…Kivikäs considers rock art the silent message of man from behind the thousands of years….

Rereading this now, I’m struck by “silent message”, considering that my current working print series is titled “Silent Messengers”!

In 1999, Kivikäs’ home city of Jyväskylä honoured him and his life’s work by establishing the Kivikäs Prehistoric Centre. It features his immense research material of mostly Finland’s prehistoric rock paintings and continues the work of research, documentation, education and tours to the rock art sites. If I had known of this centre when visiting Jyväskylä in 2000, I sure would have gone there. Next time.

Unfortunately the website is only in Finnish because there’s some interesting reading about the history of the place, but have a look at the photos. My Finnish readers may enjoy it. The Centre is located on a historic 1763 property in the newer Kuokkola Manor, which was built in 1904 for the Swedish-Finnish businessman Julius Johnson.

A bit off the subject, I found it fascinating that the Manor was designed by a woman architect who was a classmate of the famous Eliel Saarinen amongst others. Wivi Lönn (1872-1966) (PDF in English) was the first Finnish woman to start an architectural agency. She gained the qualifications of architect in the 1890s during an era when women were only allowed entry into construction education programmes by dispensation. She had a long and successful career despite some overshadowing by male colleagues. Her last creation was at the age of 78, and she died at the age of 94.

UPDATE: In the comments below, Blogisisko pointed to an article in English about women architects in Finland in the Early 20th Century**, in which Wivi Lönn is included. She’s also written a post about her, with some photos coming soon.

Virtual Finland** is a wonderful resource on everything about Finland and I read it frequently. This time I did not delve into it, as I was really focusing on Pekka Kivikäs. Funny how easily one gets off the subject, especially when one finds such an interesting tidbit.

**the Virtual Finland and Arkeo links no longer exist, I’m sad to note.

September 26, 2005 in Books, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History, Rock Art & Archaeology by Marja-Leena