This is a hand–decorated, medium-sized, traditional, wooden Belarussian casket. The casket is recommended for keeping jewellery and other small objects. It is painted with a brown and maroon-coloured wood-stain, and it is beautifully decorated with straw elements. An elaborate straw appliqué design was placed on the cover. It depicts a flower composition. A decorative pattern composed of different geometric figures runs around the sides of the casket. Edges are accentuated with light straw lines. Special attention should be drawn to its elaborate finish – the adornment is composed of several, sometimes very fine elements, which were carefully matched in order to achieve a proportional composition. The cover is situated on metal hinges that enables its opining. Inside, the casket is lined with soft, long-haired fabric. Making straw objects or those decorated with straw has enjoyed a long-lasting tradition over centuries. Straw products originating from there are characterized by real mastery.
The tradition of manufacturing products decorated with straw or made of straw has been cultivated over several centuries in Belarus. Its history is related to standard beliefs referring to bread and straw. The greatest development period for plaiting works falls on the turn of the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries. Straw plaiting works took on an artistic function. Belorussian masters created such unique and impressive works of art as straw Tsar’s Royal Doors, which are a part of iconostasis in the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches. The entire iconostases in the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches are probably fully straw-framed. Three examples of Tsar’s Royal Doors have remained until this day – two are exhibited in the Belarusian Museum of folk art in the village of Raubiczi near Minsk, and one is in the Historical and Archeological Museum in Grodno. Straw plaiting works went through their Renaissance stage in the 60s. Wiera Gawriluk contributed to it by recreating old plaiting styles and a fashion of making straw figurines, the memory of which has still remained in the minds of the village inhabitants. Although such outstanding works of art as iconostases are no longer created, the tradition of manufacturing straw objects has been cultivated in Belarus until nowadays. Belarus can boast of real mastery in the area of creating straw objects. Nowadays, they have a decorative function; they are manufactured as toys, Christmas tree decorations or household utensils.
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