The bear (karhu in Finnish), King of the Forest, was the most respected animal of the ancient Finnish forests and still is today. The Birth of the Bear is a very old, probably paleolithic myth having it's roots in totemistic relationship between the powerful animal and the primitive man.
As such the bear was the symbol of the whole tribe and a sacred animal. For this reason in some areas it was never hunted. Shamanism was also closely connected to the bear and sometimes the bear was seen as the spirit of a shaman.
Brown India ink. Drawn with a wooden straw.