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From reindeer sled to Stalin: Moscow displays bone carving masterpieces

The Russian Museum of Decorative & Folk Arts exhibits the finest bone carvings found in the Russian North and Siberia.
By Alexey Mosko
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

If folk art makes your heart skip a beat, then Moscow’s Russian Museum of Decorative & Folk Arts definitely has something in store for you. Till January it will exhibit the best samples of Russian bone carving art.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The widest selection of bone carving masterpieces from craftsmen of the Russian North and Siberia is now on display. More than 400 pieces are on view, making the exhibition the largest for 30 years.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The craft of bone carving has deep roots in various regions of the Russian North and Siberia, but it was in the White Sea region that the art of working the walrus tusk was brought to perfection.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The heyday of Russian bone carving arrived in the 18th century. The artwork of that period was highly appreciated by the royals.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The inspiration for original pieces came from everyday life. Reindeer sledges, fishermen and hunters were the most typical subjects.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Some handicrafts were not just pleasing to the eye, but utilitarian. Jewelry cases, combs, caskets and mirrors made by northern craftsmen were highly valued by the Russian nobility.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

In the late 19th century bone carving declined as handicrafts of this kind fell out of vogue.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

But the early Bolshevik times saw a revival to the long established art.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The new age foregrounded fresh motifs: Red Army soldiers, warship sailors, polar explorers and communist leaders were among the favorite subjects.
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Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The exhibition "Travel on the roads of time. Carving art of Russia" lasts till January, 31, 2016.
October 23, 2015
Tags: exhibition, crafts

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