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Porcelain Questions

What is the Lomonosov Factory?

In 1774 a porcelain factory was founded in the environs of St. Petersburg, which laid the foundation of the porcelain industry in Russia. The Factory supplied the needs of the Tsar`s Court and, as compared to private porcelain works, was a small- scale production. The articles produced were extremely costly and were rarely put up for sale. The composition of the first Russian porcelain and glazes, as well as the porcelain manufacturing were evolved by the Russian scientist D. Vinogradov with regard to the local raw materials- Gzhel clays and Olonets quartz and alabaster. First porcelain painters were trained at the Academy of Fine Arts.

At the moment the factory produces a varied assortment of porcelain- ware - tea and coffee services of different shapes and décor, goblets, cups and and saucers and presentation sets, flower vases, sculptures (mainly representing animals), decanters for wine and all kinds of souvenirs.

Porcelain items with LFZ trademark are well- known in 30 countries. Lomonosov Factory is a permanent participant of international exhibitions and fairs. In 1937 the articles of the factory won the Gold Medal at the World Exhibition in Paris. Participation of the Factory in the International Leipzig fair in 1948 was honored with gold medal. In 1958 at the international Exhibition in Brussels the factory`s produce won the Gold Medal, and several of the Factory`s painters were awarded gold and silver medals.

Lomonosov Factory`s porcelain in many aspects owes its success to its creators- artists and sculptures. Each artist working at the Factory is a bright individuality, organically representing the facet of the Russian school of porcelain art and developing best traditions of craftsmen of previous generations.

Porcelain of the oldest Russian factory still remains a sample of art and high quality.

Why is it named so?

In 1925, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Academy of Sciences of Russia, the factory was named after M. Lomonosov, a great Russian scholar.

What makes the Lomonosov Factory Unique?

All complicated painted decoration is carried out in porcelain items by free hand painting, while simple graphic patterns are transferred onto items by a multi- coloured movable transfer tissue made at the Factory and then are finished by painters.

A number of articles are decorated, besides overglaze and underglaze painting, in powder gold with the incision of an engraved design. Many services, vases and nearly all animal sculptures are painted in overglaze colours.

About ninety per cent of the Factory`s entire output is produced of so- called "hard- paste" porcelain fired at 1400 C.

Animal sculptures decorated with underglaze colours, usually salt solutions of various metals, are made of so- called "soft-paste" porcelain fired through a temperature of up to 1300 C.

Lomonosov Factory is the first in the country to have worked out technology and set up production of thin-walled bone china items, which are notable for enhanced whiteness, thinness and transparency in comparison with traditional hard porcelain. In 1980 a group of the Factory specialists responsible for this work was awarded the State Prize for developments in the field of science and technology.

Why Russian porcelain is different from Western one?

There are some differences. First, Russian porcelain is made with the use of different technology. Western manufacturers use special powder pressing, enabling them to produce porcelain in large quantities. Russian porcelain makers still use old technology and hand painting widely, so all the items produced are unique.

Second, Russian porcelain secret is one of the 3 world "porcelain secrets". The other two belong to China and England.

What is Gzel?

Gzhel is the name of the oldest and most famous Russian ceramic center, which is situated at the distance of some 50 km southeast of Moscow and known since the XIVth century as a home of potter`s production. Gzhel is also the name of a village in this area and this name is applied to the beautiful artistic porcelain and majolica ware made there.

Today the Gzhel Association is a modern enterprise having 6 production facilities with personal of 1200 producing artistic porcelain and majolica items such as souvenirs, table ware, vases, miniatures, figurines, folk toys, articles of interior: fireplaces, chandeliers and some others with the use of local famous "Gzhel" clays and being in a steady demand in the Russian market and overseas.

Gzhel offers mix of both fine and folk art in the renowned cobalt blue and snowy white style. In its activity Gzhel as a Folk Craft follows old Russian traditions in the folk art.  The master artisans of Gzhel paint each piece entirely by hand.  The process requires hours of handwork to mold, finish, glaze and fire each individual piece.

The Association has now high-skilled and gifted artists, sculptors and technology experts. A unified personnel education has been set up. Education begins from the kindergarten, followed by the secondary school, and is completed by a Gzhel art college and post-graduate courses in Moscow.

Since 1994 Gzhel Association is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen.

Kislovodsky porcelain

Kislovodsk artists and folk masters united their efforts, being aimed at search of new expressiveness in their artistic language; as a result of their creative activities in this field, a renovated unique style was formed. A new style was born as a creative interpretation of old traditions; professional artists, who came at the enterprise in the early 1960-ies, were at the head of this creative initiative.

During that period, Kislovodsk porcelain developed in four different trends: ornamental underglaze painting, luster and landscape painting and hand-made modeling. A décor in hand-made modeling is based on such elements as floral ornamentation, abstract decorativeness, plasticity and virtuosity of floral bunches execution. The same properties are basic principles of décor painting, favouring to avoid naturalism.

Serial production of articles with hand-made modeling has no equal in Russia, either in quality, or in volume.

Russian Crystal Questions

What is Gus-Khrustalny?

The town of Gus-Khrustalny is situated not far from Moscow, in the picturesque countryside between the old cities of Vladimir and Riazan. The name of Gus-Khrustalny is associated in Russia with the production of artistic glass in the same way as are Murano in Italy and Baccarat in France.

The Gus Crystal Factory was founded in 1756. Towards the middle of the 19th century the factory received acclaim all over the country thanks to the high artistic standard and wide assortment of its glassware.

Why Gus-Khrustalny is the most popular crystal manufacture in Russia?

The reason is 24 % content of lead in the items, produced by the Factory, which determines a range of peculiarities of the crystal, in particular, its characteristic sounding.

Russian watches questions

What are the Commander watches?

The history of the "Vostok" watchmaker dates back to the year 1942 when one of the Moscow watch plants was evacuated to Chistopol, Tatarstan. From 1965 the plant became the official provider of the USSR Ministry of Defense with mechanical wristwatches. At this time special army "Commander" watch was created. Now "Vostok" has over fifty years of experience in manufacturing precise timepieces, respectable traditions and highly skilled employees.

The waterproof, shockproof wristwatches "Vostok" feature high reliability, precision and smart design, original symbolic, sweep second hand, momentary date calendar, luminescent hands and indices for night visibility. Vostok watches properly function in any environment - including sea depths.


Russia, together with Byelorussia and Ukraine are known worldwide for manufacturing fine, high quality and inexpensive linen, still produced according to the old traditions, with the use of hand embroidery and folk patterns. Linen, made with love to nature.

Lacquers questions

The Russian Art of lacquer miniatures is rooted in remote ages. It is a part of the rich popular spiritual culture. Lacquer painting is an inimitable element of the artistic surrounding, in which the Russians live, and their sacrament to the beauty of the world.

The lacquer miniature is notable for the elegance of its forms, fine brush mastery, recherché colour ranges, and the poetry images. Among the most famous Russian lacquer trades are Fedoskino, Palekh and Kholui.


The oldest Russian trade that has conserved up to nowadays is Fedoskino having its genealogy in Lukutino and Vishnyakov lacquers. In the late 18th century a merchant P. Korobov founded a lacquer workshop in Moscow suburbs that passed to his son-in law P. Lukutin in the early 19th century. At him and his son Alexander the factory reached its flourishing, but was closed in 1904. The former masters of Lukutino and Vishnyakov Workshops organized the artel of Fedoskino. And this center of lacquer miniature has conserved the same name. From the very beginning the works were decorated with painted engravings. Later there appeared the first painted works after Italian and Dutch landscape originals, genre motives in imitation of Chinese works. But generally the masters turned to Russian topics. Well-known pictures, lithographs, popular prints were the bases for the plots of their works.

Being the successor of the Lukutino and Vishnyakov lacquers Fedoskino has embraced not only their experience, but all the interesting, teaching and original, that existed in West European and Oriental ones. It has played a great role in the choice of its way and future for the artists of the former icon painting centers, looking for an application for their mastery and talents in a new post revolutionary situation. The Fedoskino practice and experience inspired for the creation of a new art Palekh and Kholui that united in their works a multicentury experience of the Russian painting and the history of the Russian lacquery.

The modern Fedoskino is a variety of works opening us the fine world of magic, joy and holiday, telling about the mutability and complicity of the surrounding life, creating images-symbols, images-enigmas. It is traditional plots enriched with a new experience and feeling.


Palekh icon-painters were famous for their great skills and craftsmanship since the 18th century. Uncommon icons and sacred images of exquisite colour scheme, executed in a very special manner with yolk tempera, were often decorated with painting in gold, too.

Handicraft company was founded in the early 1920-ies; its base was both ancient Russian icon-painting, traditions and assimilated technological experience of Lukutin`s Lacquer Manufactory.

Palekh adornments and domestic utensils (brooches, powder-cases, beads-boxes, caskets and chests) are executed by hand, without any preliminary copies.

Contemporary lacquer articles are decorated with unique miniature painting on subjects of Russian fairy-tales and folklore ballads, poems and national customs; classic Russian literature characters are represented there too.


Ancient Russian village Kholui residents are mostly icon-painters` descendants. At present, they are famous all over the world for their art of lacquer painting over papier-mâché. Guided by canons of ancient Russian art and traditional technologies of Russian lacquerware, Kholui artists managed to create a very special painting manner. Contemporary artists make original pieces of art - caskets and boxes, brooches and decorative panels. These articles are noteworthy even amongst lacquerware of other handicraft lacquer centers.

Kholui lacquer workshops were founded in 1933 on the basis of an artistic Guild, which existed since 1934.

Kholui miniature painting is executed with egg yolk tempera over papier-mâché articles. They represent folklore and historic subjects, everyday life motives with stylized figures which are depicted against the stylized background.

Famous artists are involved into the workshops activities; their artworks were rewarded with high rewards, including the Great Silver Medal of the International Exhibition in Bruxelles. The artists were rewarded with honorary titles of Peoples Artist and Honored Artist of the Russian Federation; they also were honored with the Russian Federation State Prize named after Ilya Repin.


The history of the Baltic "gem" which beauty and unusual therapeutic properties won great glory and fame since the very olden times, is shrouded in legends and folk narrative ballads.

The Baltic seaside nearby Yantarny Settlement of Kaliningrad Region is a location of the largest in the world amber deposit which field contains over 90 percent of the world known reserves.

In June 1947 there was founded an enterprise which was specialized in amber extraction and processing of the output. A workshop was organized there in 1951; at the same time it served a trade school for amber industry workers, who formed their own traditions and individual manner of processing of the beautiful "sunny stone".

The enterprise produces over 600 types of jewelry articles in gold, silver, brass and German silver settings. Amber beads and necklaces, rings and earrings, bracelets and pendants, cigarette- or cigar-holders and souvenirs, which combined amazing natural properties of amber with artist`s flight of fancy, are widely known all over the world. The enterprise takes part in international exhibitions since 1957 and its production is exported to over 20 countries of Europe and America, The Near East and Asia.


Zhostovo settlement, which is located in Moscow region, is the center of a prominent Russian folk craft. Founded in 1825, it was based on manufacture of lacquer articles made of papier-mâché, and lacquer trays with subject or floral painting, made of metal.

Fascination of Zhostovo art is concluded in its contents, sincere and spontaneous, and in its artistic language, immediate and expressiveness, are characteristic features of Zhostovo handicraft masters; they also successfully solve purely artistic problems of combination of separate details into a logic composition and skillfully join painting with trays` forms.

Landscapes and still-lives are the most popular subjects of Zhostovo painting, but the main motive is always a bunch of flowers. Real and fantastic flowers are united into bouquets or wreaths and garlands, and placed against black, colour, metallized or mother-of-pearl lacquer background. Zhostovo painting is always created as a brilliant improvisation; therefore repetition and standardization are absolutely excluded.

Handicraft masters are mostly hereditary artists from family dynasties; the enterprise supports successive training methods in folk crafts.

According to the President`s Decree dated the 6th of November 1993, Zhostovo folk craft was included into the State Index of the most valuable objects of culture of the Russian Federation.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs are well-known Russian memorabilia, whose fame outside of this country is probably second only to painted wooden matryoshka dolls. Easter eggs are an attribute of one of the most important Christian holidays: the day of prayer for the "miraculous Resurrection" of crucified Jesus Christ. By giving each other Easter eggs, Christians profess the faith in their Resurrection.

In ancient times, the egg was attributed a magic significance. Eggs- both natural and made of different materials, like marble, clay, etc.-are found in graves, mounds, and at other burial sites of the pre-Christian epoch. All world mythologies have legends treating the egg as a symbol of life, renewal, as a source of origin of all that exists in this world. Since ancient times, the egg has been the symbol of a transition from nonexistence to existence. It was perceived as spring sun, brining life, joy, warmth, light, rebirth of nature, and liberation from the grip of frost, ice and snow.

Modern Easter eggs can be divided into several motif groups: religious, architectural landscape, simple landscape, literature (Russian epic poems, Russian popular fairy tales), pagan motifs, symbolic, etc.


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