Lacquer Miniatures From Kholui

Lacquer MiniaturesUndoubtedly, one of the most beautiful art forms to come from Russia are what are often categorized as lacquered miniatures.  These are boxes made of papier-mache’ that are skillfully handpainted and lacquered.

There are four primary places that authentic miniatures are made from: Palekh, Mstera, Fedoskino, and Kholui.  Each have their own distinct style.  In this blog, we highlight boxes from Kholui.

The old Russian village of Kholui (located in Ivanovo region) is known for its remarkable scenic beauty. This unique corner of Russia seems to have been created precisely to astound the world with its original charm. The clear blue waters of the Teza river reflect the silvery boughs of the bordering willows and the domes of the white-stone 17th century Trinity Church.

Kholui miniatures are distinct in their style, probably reflective of the region.  They are known for incorporating significant detail and realism for the painting subjects, but including a lot of soft tones and being very rich in the inclusion of background scenery.  Being the youngest of the regions to formally create an art school, Kholui boxes break from the traditional simplistic designs found in Palekh and, instead, incorporate significant complexity.  The boxes are typically painted in warm colors such as yellows, browns and reds.  Border ornaments are generally not as prominent as they are in Mstera.

People who get a quality Russian lacquer miniature generally find themselves fully enamored by the box and it spawns them to start a collection.

Published on July 13, 2015.

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