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FolkArt
TOYS OF DYMKOVO
  1. Hand-painted clay figures of people and animals, often made in the form of pennywhistles, have been produced for centuries in the village of Dymkovo, near the city of Kirov (formerly Vyatka) and are also known as kirovskaya or vyatskaya toys. In the old days, figurines of horses, riders, and birds were carried as talismans for good luck, but now the pennywhistles are children??s toys and souvenirs. Up until the 20th century, the toys were made in time for traditional spring fairs. Today??s Dymkovo toys reflect both ancient and contemporary subjects (19th??20th centuries), such as figurines of noble women,nurses, waterbearers, and others.
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LACE-MAKING OF VOLOGDA
  1. Lace-making has been done throughout the Vologda Region since the 16th??17th centuries. It was already a very popular folk art by the beginning of the 19th century, and its fame spread after European exhibitions have shown it. The lace of Vologda is netted on koklyushkas, special devices made of linen threads, which look like a wavy braid on the background of openwork patterns. The technique of Vologda lace-making is used for napkins, coverlets, lace decorations, and unique works of art made especially for exhibitions and based on artists?? original designs.
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TOYS OF BOGORODSKOYE
  1. Toy and sculpture-making of Bogorodskoye is based on the ancient principles of medieval Russian art. Its cultural origin is connected with Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius (Moscow Region), a large centre of national arts and crafts. The detailed hand-decorated figurines of people and animals, either painted or unadorned, are based on fairytale characters or legendary heroes. Local craftsmen do their work with much imagination, humour, and extraordinary attention to detail. Many museums in Russia have their own collections of toys in this style, called bogorodskaya toys.
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PAINTING TECHNIQUE OF KHOKHLOMA
  1. This painting technique emerged in the 17th century in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, near the trading village of Khokhloma, to which it owes its name. The technique of Khokhloma painting has hardly changed to this day: fine cut articles made of teil or aspen trees are covered with a special base, smeared with aluminum powder, and painted with heat-resistant dyes. When the objects are covered with lacquer, their silver patterns become golden in color. The traditional decorative motif combines entwined grass and flowers painted in fiery cinnabar, as well as black and sparkling gold hues; these designs decorate mugs, serving spoons, ladles, and small barrels. The wooden articles are resistant to both water and organic acids. The Khokhloma technique is used not only for decorating pottery, but for souvenirs, furniture, and household items as well.
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MATRYOSHKAS (NESTING DOLLS)
  1. Russia??s most popular souvenir has only been made in this country for a little over a century. Matryoshkas are a set of wooden painted dolls of various sizes that can be fit one inside the other. Originally, the idea came from Japan, where a Buddhist wise man named Fukurumu fitted doll figures into each other. The first matryoshkas were made in the village of Serghiyev Posad (Moscow Region), and today they are made in many cities throughout Russia. In just several years after their inception, nesting dolls were presented at the World Exhibition in Paris, where they won a gold medal and world fame. Traditionally, a matryoshka depicts a red-cheeked peasant woman wearing a shawl, but nowadays one can find many different styles of nesting dolls, decorated both in the styles of Gzhel or Khokhloma, or as figurine sets of famous Russian politicians from Vladimir Lenin to Vladimir Putin.
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ENAMEL OF ROSTOV VELIKY
  1. The centre of national production of painted enamel, also known as finift, is in the city of Rostov Veliky (Yaroslavl Region). This folk art has existed here since the 18th century. Early enamel inserts were most often used to decorate church artifacts, from icon crowns to sacred book covers. Today, the finift of Rostov Veliky is mostly portraiture and decorative painted enamel. It is found on household items and other finery, such as small mirrors, powder-boxes, earrings, and bracelets; brooches with filigreed portraits made in this style are especially valued. Amazing pieces of jewelry created by the masters of Rostov finift, make for excellent souvenirs.
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TRAYS OF ZHOSTOVO
  1. The metal lacquerware of the small village of Zhostovo, located in the vicinity of Moscow, near the city of Mytishchi, has existed in Russia for two centuries. Metal trays of various sizes and shapes, decorated with vivid images on a red and black background, are very popular Russian souvenirs. Although flowers arranged in various patterns are the most famous motif, other decorative images, such as ornaments and fruit, may be depicted on the trays, as well as natural landscapes, fairytale characters, and still-lives.
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PAINTING TECHNIQUE OF GORODETS
  1. This decorative folk art made with tempera painting on wood has existed in the city of Gorodets (Nizhny Novgorod Region) since the middle of the 19th century. Images of roosters, horses, fantastic animals and birds, as well as scenes of promenades and tea-parties, are depicted in vivid colours, executed with broad brushstrokes, and surrounded by patterns outlined in black and white. People used to decorate furniture, doors, window sills, gates, and other parts of their houses with such painting, creating an inimitably bright world. Today, various kinds of toys and souvenirs continue to be painted in this style.
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PAINTED MINIATURES OF PALEKH
  1. The village of Palekh (Ivanovo Region) near the city of Kostroma (Upper Volga area) is famous for its unique folk crafted miniatures. Bright tempera paint is used to decorate a black background of papier-m??ch? lacquer-ware (small boxes, cases, cigarette holders, powder, and pill boxes, etc.). Although the creation of Palekh miniatures began in the 1920s, their decorative style is reminiscent of centuries old icon-painting techniques. The images depicted on the perfectly smooth black surface of the miniatures show colourful scenes from everyday life and heroic events of Russian history, as well as scenes from popular legends and fairy tales.
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BIRCH BARK CRAFTS
  1. This old type of folk art was born in the town of Veliky Oustyug as early as the 13th century. It is a typical decorative style of Russia??s north. Folk craftsmen make small boxes, cooking utensils, and boxes from birch bark, as well as cylindrical thermos-type bottles with the lids attached, and various kinds of toys all decorated with carvings, embossment and paintings. Basket work is especially popular among them. The most famous centres of birch bark craft are the cities of Veliky Oustyug (Vologda Region), Tomsk (Western Siberia), and Syktyvkar (the Republic of Komi).
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