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Heroes of Kalevala

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By jjnaas   |   
© 2004 - 2020 jjnaas
An illustration I did for my university magazine, to an article concerning Kalevala, the Finninsh national epic that has also influenced Tolkien when he wrote LOTR. (Tolkien knew Finnish well enough to read Kalevala in the original language, and according to Tolkien, the elven language is a mix of Finnish, ancient Welsh.. and some third language.)

Anyway, the characters from top to the bottom, from left to right:

Louhi - Witch-Queen of Pohjola, the Winter Hag/Crone; leader of the rival tribe of the southern Kalevala.

Ilmarinen - The magical black smith who created the Sampo (a money making machine), the stars and the heavenly dome.

Väinämöinen - The eternal sage, a bard and a powerful sorcerer.

Joukahainen - A gambler, brother of Aino.

Aino - Joukahainen's sister, she was promised to be Väinämöinen's Wife, but ran away after discovering how old he was.

Kyllikki - Maiden of the islands.

Lemminkäinen - Adventurer, friend and comrade of Väinämöinen; potentially comes from a God of love/fertility. Also known as Lempo (which later came to be associated with the devil)

Kullervo - The tragic hero, an angsty young man.
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ChisuKisu's avatar
ChisuKisuHobbyist Digital Artist
Ai että, Kalevala on hieno.
TrekkieGleek's avatar
Kyl Kalevala on vaan hieno
masterofhorr's avatar
"Angsty young man", does not even begin to describe Kullervo.
Somutokeri's avatar
SomutokeriHobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, hieno! Kalevala on vaan hieno.
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Hello! Your work has been featured here [link] Please, :+favlove: the article if you like it, so that more people can see it :)
Replicaa's avatar
ReplicaaStudent Traditional Artist
This is lovely!

hah, I love Ilmarninen's expression.
salmon-sushi's avatar
I love this pic!
nice drawing style =)
TalviEnkeli's avatar
TalviEnkeliProfessional General Artist
What a nice picture! :D It makes me to read the book again! It's written in very pretty language in old style. I regret, i couldn't read it in original but in my language it sounds great as well :)
GrimBird's avatar
I like the face Joukahainen is making. :P
IndigoDagger's avatar
TommyVercetty's avatar
That's very nice pic
I-skipped-the-chorus's avatar
great job! I wish you illustrated the book I'm reading xD It's not original Kalevala, but like some retelled story so we can better understand. Anyway - excellent drawings!
Vladsnake's avatar
VladsnakeProfessional General Artist
I love your illustration :).
Just doing my fine arts final project based on this finnish masterpiece.
jjnaas's avatar
jjnaasProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks. :) I like your Kalevala interpretations a lot.
Vladsnake's avatar
VladsnakeProfessional General Artist
^^ Oh... I appreciate it a lot coming from a finnish, many thanks :)
uguisu's avatar
I figure Sampo was a machine that could give you never-ending prosperity.... We had to make a modern Sampo in our art class and I did a bracelet that cooked you tea all the time....My idea of never-ending prosperity I suppose.
I like how you portrayed Ilmarinen in this (prolly 'cause he resembles my idea of him :D) and you gotta love the discription of Kullervo... an angsty young man indeed.
jjnaas's avatar
jjnaasProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks. I think there are some other interpretations of what Sampo might be as well.. like, it may possibly also mean the the golden knob at the end of the tree or a pillar that holds up the sky.

I'm glad you like my Ilmarinen.. he looks very down-to-earth here despite being a magical blacksmith.
HantWolf's avatar
Very good picture, I love Kalevala!
This goes to my favorites...
(If you wonder what Sampo was, it was a machine which could give you salt, grain and gold.) :-)
nigellus's avatar
I LOVED this epic but i never really got what the hell the Sampo was :(
jjnaas's avatar
jjnaasProfessional Digital Artist
I'm not sure what Sampo was either, I think it has been interpreted in many different ways. One interpretation is that it's meant to be a money making machine, other that it's the golden knob at the end of a pillar that keeps the sky from falling down.
Ms-Underhill's avatar
Ms-UnderhillHobbyist Photographer
I had no idea that The Kalevala has influenced Tolkien, or that he knew Finnish.
I'm reading The Kalevala at the moment (translated), and the illustrations in it don't fit the characters completely. I like yours much better visually. The colours are nice, warm and earthy, I like how you draw Louhi's character the most. In my head they all looked a bit more "fantastic", though. Louhi was a bit of a goth and such ... =p

Glad I found this, now I'll enjoy reading Kalevala even more.
Boasill's avatar
kalevala is best when you read it in finnish. (i know imading it) so try to learn finnish and read it
Mikkoman's avatar
Cool piece of art.
Vrykolakas27's avatar
I decided to read the Kalevala after rooming and working with a guy from Hyvinkää. I'm just now reading the forging of the Sampo, but I like it. I like this picture. Any idea what the Sampo looks like?
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