Russian lacquered miniatures - Kholui
The Russian land abounds in nooks and crannies that breathe hoary antiguity and remind us of the history and culture of our ancestors. The old Russian village of Kholui sprawling on the banks of the River Teza is one such place.
Its inhabitants, the descendants of icon - painters, are artists world famous for their craft of painting on lacquer miniature surfaces of papier - mache.
The History of Kholui goes back to antiquity and is linked with such old Russian cities as Vladimir, Suzdal, Shuya.
The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality played an outstanding role in old Rus until the 15th century. It was there that the main political, economic and cultural centers were situated.
When did icon-painting arise in Kholui ?
Legend has it that it happened before the Mongol invasion. The invasion made Russian icon - painters take refuge in monasteries.
The icon - painting traditions in the monasteries of Suzdal, Shuya, and in the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery to which Kholui craftsmen were exposed provided the basis for a distinctive Kholui style of icon - painting which subsequently became became identified with Suzdal.
The monks were undubtedly the first icon - painters in Kholui.
From an early document that first mentions Kholui we learn that in the mid - 16th it had salt - works owned by St. Trinity - Sergius Monastery. The monks had been attracted to the place by the abundance of game and fish and the fact that Kholui was favorably situated at the crossing of trade routes. Trade anbd crafts flourished in the Kholui village.
In the early 17th century it was the scene of annual fairs that owe their existence to the prayers which attracted piligrims from remote places. Gradually, a lively trade in icons was established as the main local product.