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 dark brown wood-stain and varnish, and it is beautifully decorated with straw elements. On the cover, and at the front of the casket an elaborate appliqué design is fixed. It is composed of decorative bands representing geometrically patterned flowers, as well as geometric figures. The pattern is exceptionally rich, and the golden straw is very distinct against the dark background, making the casket extremely attractive. 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. A slightly convex cover is fixed on metal hinges that enable its opening. Inside, the casket is lined with soft, violet and maroon velvet. 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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