A Wooden God of Estonians from before 1800?


Urmas Sutrop


Institute of the Estonian Language



Abstract. Little is known of the ancient Estonian pantheon. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (13th century) contains references to Taarapita, the great god of Saaremaa. However, reports of the cult of Peko as the fertility god of the Seto people living in South-East of Estonia are relatively recent. Of material images only one of Peko and two of the household guardian Tőnn have survived. While studying Brotze’s collection in Riga, the author has discovered a drawing dating from 1800, depicting a wooden figure that could possibly be a god of heathen Estonians, once kept at the library of St. Olaf’s Church in Tallinn. The next reference to the figure comes from the Provincial Museum of Estonia (registered in 1875). No later records have been found. Most likely, the figure got lost in the turmoil of the 20th-century world wars.