Warmth of life
The Vykvyragtyrgyrgynyh family is seated around the hearth.
Their family name translates as “The one returning home like
a stone” – because the mother of Valera, the patriarch, gave
birth to him at the river bank where she went fishing. She
brought him home, heavy, wrapped in kamleyka – a
traditional waterproof robe made from sea mammal skin. He
has grown into an artist, a carver, an engraver working with
mammoth and walrus tusks. Valera’s wife, Larisa, is a keeper
of the local traditions and language. She has given life to two
sons, and she also has passed on her knowledge of the
language and the ancestor’s melodies that still sound at their
hearth for her granddaughters.
A hearth in a Сhukchi home is a vital symbol of family,
happiness, and warmth. It is usually in the very centre of their
dwelling. Above the hearth there is a hole. It is held that
though that hole ancestors can look at their descendants
from the sky. If cooking steam and smoke go up through the
hole, the ancestors are happy for their younger generations.
This is how generations support an invisible bond.