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Item #0000100653

The Snow Maiden (2005)

from Palekh by Mikhail Nebogatov
10.50" x 4.25" x 2.00"(26.50 x 10.50 x 5.50 cm)
Inspired by the fairytales:
The Snowmaiden

Gallery Price: $ 2895.00
Internet Price: $ 2895.00
None currently available
This large work from Palekh artist M. Nebogatov tells the tale of the Snowmaiden and her true love, the shepherd Lel. The figures appear amid an ornate tangle of scrolling silver and gold leaves and blossoms. The lovers appear first in oval vignettes at the left and right of the lid. Lel plays his pipe beneath the sensuous boughs of a willow while his flock rests at his feet. The Maiden dances to the music of the yet unseen piper on the banks of a stream, her tiny feet moving gracefully with the tune. She looks up as a bird flies over to circle her head and join the dance; its mate watching from their nearby nest. But she has been warned to stay away from humans, especially Lel. He is quite the charmer, and girls fall for him often and easily. But the Snowmaiden must restrain herself; her heart is made of ice, like that of her father, Old Man Winter, and if she feels the warmth of love, she is doomed. The center has a ceremony presided over by the Tsar of the land. The mass wedding is dedicated to the sun, in hopes of thawing the unnaturally cold weather. On spying the Snowmaiden, the wise tsar realizes her true nature, and knows that the cold is caused by her icy heart. He makes a special effort to find a partner for the magical girl, whose heart has become even colder as Lel receives a wreath from her best friend. The former fiance of her friend, who is smitten by the maiden, sees her distress and makes a special effort to comfort and cheer her. His kindness breaks through the frozen barriers of her heart, which begins to melt. The sides of the box are adorned with personifications of the seasons; a sort of family album for the maiden. The maiden her side rides a troika drawn by stags and driven by her father, Old Man winter. The surrounding areas has winter birds perched among silvery scrolls. Fairy Spring, the maiden's mother, is a vision of beauty in a verdant dress and flowered circlet, surrounded by swans. Swallows fly through the flower strewn scroll work around her. Summer and Fall appear on the rear and remaining side, obviously cousins, because brothers would have had a word with Lel about breaking their sister's heart, as brothers often do for their sisters. Summer lies atop a cart full of grass, drawn by three fiery horses. His posture suggests the lack of motivation in the hot days of his season. Squirrels cavort in the golden scrolls around him, which sprout tiny acorns. Fall is an elegantly dressed hunter, who prepares to release a dazzling white falcon. A shield and bow, and glass of wine appear in his leafy grape and mushroom laden decoration. The scene is gorgeously rendered, with an eye towards detail. The figures are well painted, with lots of personality in the distinct expression of each. This box is made of high quality papier mache and is signed on the lid with the title, artist's name, village, and date of completion. There is a hinge at the top, and the interior is red lacquer. It stands on four curved legs. A very handsome work, done by a top Palekh artist. --BOX1148

Lacquerbox Condition Ratings

Surface Condition (exterior) Surface Condition (interior/bottom) Box Materials and Soundness Hinge and Lid Placement Signature Total Rating Mother-of-pearl Condition

(Each category rated 1-10. For low scores, look for explanation in the description of box. In general, any total rating over 40 is excellent. For more information on rating system, click here.)

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