среда, 9 сентября 2009 г.


Wooden figurines of hens, blacksmith and bear… They can be set in motion. These funny figurines are known in the world as “Bogorodskoye” toys, Bogorodskoye is a village near Moscow where they have been made from time immemorial. The way this ancient folk craft developed is shown at an exhibition which opened in the St. Petersburg Russian Museum. On display are over 200 rare exhibits from various museums and private collections.

The craft of making wooden toys in the Bogorodskoye village which is at the distance of 30 kilometers from the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery emerged under the influence of that world-famous monastery. In the 16th century it was a major center of crafts in Russia. Talent of local craftsmen gradually won recognition, and a tradition developed to bring home toys bought near the monastery’s walls. Even unpainted figurines were in great demand: they could boast natural beauty of wood since figurines were cut of a whole piece of log. Usually lime-tree was used for the purpose because it is mild and easy in processing. The main theme of craftsmen was peasant life and everyday labour. Craftsmen depicted what they saw, in the form of toys they tried to convey how severe peasant life was. In the second half of the 19th century genre scenes became popular. Set in motion groups of figurines performed peasant jobs; this was, no doubt, a sign of respect for labour which was a keynote of the Bogorodskoye craft. Another favourite theme of craftsmen was a tale about bear. Numerous variants of the figurine titled “A peasant man and a bear” are considered to be a symbol of the Bogorodskoye craft.

In the late 19th century folk toys were studied and collected as a kind of peasant art. The St. Petersburg Russian Museum houses the country’s richest collection of Bogorodskoye toys and sculpture. Substantial part of the collection is made up of the 20th-century figurines and compositions dealing with historical, Russian epic and Bible themes--that was not typical of the Bogorodskoe craft earlier, they cover almost all major events in Russian history. Being loyal to old traditions contemporary craftsmen continue a search of new images and forms. Their works are gathered and presented in a separate section of the exposition.

Sources:The Voice of Russia,www.tula.ru

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