Welcome to the "Russian Gallery in Portland" site and on-line Russian gifts shop!
Our site is dedicated to Russian craft products and Russian cultural, historical, literature and folk heritage. Hopefuly our site can give you usefull information about russian arts and krafts. Russia has unique potential of applied art products, which often are made entirely by hand. Russian handicrafts come in a wide, and ever-widening, variety, but the most common traditional forms are described below:
The Matryoshka, or Russian nesting doll, is one of the most popular and endearing examples of Russian folk art. Fashioned entirely of natural products, each doll is hand painted and therefore completely unique.The attention to detail and creative skill of the Matryoshka artists will amaze you. Dolls can range in size from large, 15" masterpieces, containing 20 or more successively smaller versions within, to tiny creations that require a magnifying glass to paint them.
In Russian, the word Matryoshka is associated with fertility and parenting. It's not surprising then that many of the first Matryoshka dolls utilized the image of a portly, chubby cheeked mother on the outside doll with the likenesses of her numerous children painted on the smaller, inner dolls. Even today, when artists are painting a variety of subjects, the image of the robust and cheerful mother is still one of the most popular.
Khokhloma is the name for the beautiful golden, red and black painting on wooden figures and dishes. Its traditional origins are in the Nizhniy Novgorod region of Russia, which, with its dese forests, naturally lent itself to this type of craft. The most common types are turned bowls, cups, plates and saucers, which are then varnished with linseed oil and delicately painted. The craft receives its name from the village of Khokhloma, where many of its masters resided. It is suggested that the floral patterns and techniques originate from medeival painting of gilt on wooden structures and interiors. The wooden objects re first impregnated with caly in water, then impregnated with linseed oil and dusted with aluminum poweder before being painted and varnished. Note: These objects are decorative, and generally should not be used for eating.
Gzhel is the blue-on-white porcelain which gets its name from a major ceramics center located 50 kilometers to the southeast of Moscow. The village is mentioned for the first time as a major center of pottery-making in the 14th century. The region rose to fame in the 18th century. The decorations are generally simple, folk designs, with the most common color being a dark blue on a white background.
Samovars have occupied an honored place in the Russian home for centuries. The Samovar plays a central part in the traditional Russian style of tea-drinking. The traditional samovar (the name comes from the Russian words (sam, meaning self, and varit, meaning "to boil") consists of a large metal container with a faucet and a pipe running through the center. The pipe would be filled, traditionally, with fuel, and the water kept constantly hot. A teapot sat on top filled with zavarka, a concentrate of tea that would be added to the boiling water from the main vessel, at a ration of about 1/10. The first samovars were manufactured in 1810 in Tula. Production has since spread throughout Russia, but Tula is still famous for its samovars. Samovars come in all shapes and sizes, and there are modern electric variants as well. There is an enormous variety in ornamentation, from the unornamented to complex designs in brass, silver, bronze, and iron. Some are even plated in silver and gold.
Lacquer Painting. Russian lacquer boxes are famous worldwide for their accomplished miniature painting technique, featuring intricate scenes often based on Russian cultural themes such as fairy tales, historical scenes, sketches of peasant life, and battle scenes. Usually made of papier mache, they take their name from the multiple layers of laquer, often red and black, applied inside and out. Particularly prized are laquer boxes from Fedoskino, Mstera, Palekh, and Kholui, all of which have their own unique styles.
The Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (Imperial) was founded in 1744 in St. Petersburg, under coordination of Empress Elisabeth, Peter the Great's daughter. Its porcelain represents indeed the traits of typically Russian perception of beauty. Their masters create hand-made and hand-painted porcelain and continue noble artistic traditions set by famous Russian artists.
In addition to these major staples, russians also excel in the manufacture of shawls, wooden toys and other crafts.