Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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The Devils’ museum in Kaunas

The first time I heard the expression pusė velnio (half a devil) when I asked someone how they were I realised that devils in Lithuania have a whole different relationship with people than we are used to. They are seemingly not all bad and evil.

There is a museum in Kaunas -Žmuidzinavičius Museum – which celebrates them in fact.

It is said to be the only museum in the world dedicated to collecting and exhibiting sculptures and carvings of devils from all over the world. The collection was started by artist Antanas Žmuidzinavičius(1876–1966), and a memorial museum was established in his house after his death.

In 1966, the devil collection consisted of 260 sculptures but visitors began to leave their own devils as gifts to the museum. In 1982, a three-story extension was built to house the expanding collection and, as of 2009, the museum’s holdings had grown to 3,000 items.

Most of the devils are sculptures in wood, ceramic, stone, or paper. Others are masks or paintings on silk or canvas. The devils, collected from all over the world, are diverse in style.

Some of the devils are art objects but other devils have been incorporated into usable objects such as pipes and nutcrackers.

Many of the items represent folk myths and others express modern political ideas. For example, one sculpture depicts Hitler and Stalin as devils in a dance of death over a pile of human bones. (Source: Wikipedia)

I visited and took several photographs when I was there ten years ago (not realising photography wasn’t allowed but the attendant let me off when I apologised).

There are also some framed cartoons which would not be considered politically correct these days but I did learn that in Lithuania Sky Blue is associated with homosexuality!