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Wooden dishes of the Slavs - how did our ancestors eat?
Wooden dishes of the Slavs - how did our ancestors eat?

It is difficult to say from what time the manufacture of chiseled wooden dishes began in Russia. Archaeological finds on the territory of Novgorod and on the site of Bulgarian settlements in the Volga region indicate that the lathe was known as early as the 12th century. In Kiev, in the secret places of the tithe church, a chiseled bowl was found during excavations. In the XVI-XVII centuries. installation of the simplest, so-called bow, lathe was available to every ordinary artisan.

About the places of production and sales markets of turned wooden utensils in the 16th - early 17th centuries. provide a lot of material for income and expense books, customs books, acts and inventories of the property of monasteries. It can be seen from them that the quitrent peasants of the Volokolamsk, Trinity-Sergievsky, Kirilo-Belozersky monasteries, artisans of the Kaluga and Tver provinces, the townspeople of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas were engaged in the production of wooden turning utensils. By the end of the 18th century. the production of wooden lathe utensils became widespread. Russian artisans have created truly perfect forms: staves, stavchiks, brothers, dishes, bowls, cups, cups, glasses (Fig. 1). The inherited craftsmanship has been improved by the creativity of each generation.


Of the individual dishes, the most common was the stavets - a deep bowl-like vessel with a flat base and a volumetric lid. Some of them had curly handles. Stavts were of different sizes: staves, stavts and stakes. Staves and staves were used as dinnerware. Large staves served as storage for smaller dishes and bread products. The festive table was decorated with brothers, dishes, plates, cups, cups, feet. Brother - a medium-sized spherical vessel with a small neck on top and a rim slightly bent outward was always made on a pallet. The brother served to serve drinks on the table. On dishes and plates with wide edges, flat sides and round trays or reliefs, pies, meat, fish, and sweets were served on the table. The diameter of the dishes reached 45 cm. The most common type of dishes in the peasant environment was a bowl - a hemispherical vessel with a straight rim, a flat low base or a small round relief. These bowls often had a height to diameter ratio of 1: 3. For stability, the diameter of the tray was made equal to the height of the bowl. The diameter of the running bowls was 14-19 cm. Large bowls reached 30 cm in diameter, and burlak ones even 50 cm. An indispensable accessory for each table was a salt shaker. Salt shakers are small, capacious vessels with a low, stable base, with or without a lid. Great popularity since the 19th century. Khokhloma dishes began to be used, which were made in large quantities in the Semenovsky district of the Nizhny Novgorod province (Gorky region). It could be found not only in Russia, but also in the countries of the East.

The popularity of Khokhloma tableware was facilitated by industrial exhibitions: in 1853 it was first demonstrated at a domestic exhibition, and in 1857 - at a foreign one. At the end of the last century, it was exported to France, Germany, England, North America. Over the centuries, in this craft, certain types of wooden dishes have been formed and improved, which are distinguished by the noble simplicity of the silhouette, the strictness of proportions, and the absence of elaborate details crushing the form.Modern craftsmen, using the best traditions of the past, continue to manufacture wooden dishes, which are both household items and a magnificent decoration of the home.

In the Gorky region, there are two historically established fishing centers - in the village of Semina, Koverninsky district, and in the city of Semenov. Seminsky products - massive bowls and ladles - are made in the tradition of peasant wooden dishes. Semyonovskaya dishes are more sophisticated, they are characterized by improved forms, intricate lids and handles. The search for new types of products led to the creation of previously unknown sets and sets of dishes. Dinner and fishing sets, sets for coffee (Fig. 2) and tea sets, sets for salad, berries and preserves, and spices have received wide recognition. Sets, as well as sets, usually include several items - up to six cups, stacks, glasses, saucers, a big brother or tureen with a lid, a coffee pot or fermentation pot, a sugar bowl, a creamer, a salt shaker and a pepper pot. Often, sets are complemented by large plates - trays. Each set necessarily includes spoons - tablespoons or teaspoons, for salad, ladles. Basically, utilitarian Khokhloma dishes are distinguished by the plastic expressiveness of forms, which favorably emphasize the artistic merits of the painting decorating it.


Russian wooden spoons

The most ancient spoon (Fig. 3), apparently having a ritual purpose, was found in the Gorbunovsky peat bog in the Urals. It has an elongated, egg-shaped scoop and a curved handle ending in a bird's head, which gives it the image of a swimming bird.


In Novgorod the Great, there were many varieties of wooden spoons (Fig. 4). Especially noteworthy are the spoons with a small, as if raised on a comb, a flat handle. Novgorod masters decorated them with carvings and paintings. Ornament - a braid, made in the technique of contour carving, was applied with belts to the handle and framed the blade. In the Russian North in the 17th century. there were known onion spoons of the Vologda case, made in the Vologda Territory, as well as shadrovy spoons with bones, root with bones, or spoons with an additive of a sea tooth, that is, inlaid with bone, walrus tusk.


Each nationality of our country has its own spoon shapes, but the most famous are the spoons made in the Volga-Vyatka region (Fig. 5). There are more than forty varieties of them, only in the Gorky region were made and are doing ladders, a rubbing spoon, salad, fishing, thin, mezheumok, half-mask, Siberian, children's, mustard, jam spoon, etc. the faceted handle-handle ends with a forging - a thickening in the form of a cut pyramid. The Kirov spoon has an egg-shaped scoop and a flat, slightly curved handle. The manufacture of spoons has already been a well-established, ramified industry in the past. In some villages, blanks were made, the so-called fragments or thumbs. In a small stump with slightly hewn edges, expanding in the part that should become a scoop, a spoon was hardly guessed. In other settlements, the lozhkari used an adze to roughly hollow out a depression, which was then cleanly selected with a crochet cutter. With a confident movement of the knife, they cut off the excess from the handle, giving it a slight bend, and the spoon was ready. Russian craftsmen have worked out the techniques of spoon carving to such an extent that it takes 15 - 20 minutes to make it.


Russian wooden ladles

In Russia, for a long time, they cut all kinds of shapes, sizes and purposes wooden dishes: ladles, skopkari, valleys and others. Today, several types of traditional Russian ladles are known: Moscow, Kozmodemyansk, Tver, Yaroslavl-Kostroma, Vologda, Severodvinsk, etc. (Fig. 6).


For Moscow buckets, made of burls with a beautiful pattern of texture, bowls of a clear, even exquisite scaphoid shape with a flat bottom, a pointed nose and a short horizontal handle are characteristic.Due to the density and strength of the material, the walls of such vessels were often as thick as a nutshell. Burl dishes were often made in silver frames. There are known buckets of the 18th century, reaching a diameter of 60 cm. Kozmodemyansk buckets were hollowed out of linden. Their shape is scaphoid and very close to the shape of the Moscow buckets, but they are much deeper and larger in volume. Some of them reached a capacity of two, three, and sometimes four buckets. The handle is flat horizontal with a constructive addition of a purely local character - a slotted loop at the bottom. Kozmodemyansk is also characterized by small ladles-scoops, which were used to scoop drinks from large bucket ladles. They are predominantly scaphoid, with a rounded, slightly flattened bottom. An almost vertically set, multi-tiered handle in the form of an architectural structure extending from the bottom is decorated with a through carving ending with the image of a horse, less often a bird.

Tver buckets are noticeably different from the Moscow and Kozmodemyansky ones. Their originality lies in the fact that they are hollowed out from the root of a tree. Maintaining mostly the shape of a rook, they are more elongated in width than in length, which makes them appear flattened. The bow of the bucket, as is usually the case with scaphoid vessels, is raised upward and ends with two or three horse heads, for which the Tver buckets were named “grooms”. The handle of the bucket is straight, faceted, the upper edge is usually decorated with ornamental carvings. The buckets of the Yaroslavl-Kostroma group have a deep rounded, sometimes flattened scaphoid bowl, the edges of which are slightly curved inward. In earlier buckets, the bowl is raised on a low pallet. Their handles are carved in the form of a curly loop, their nose is in the form of a cock's head with a sharp beak and beard. Vologda drip-buckets are designed for scooping drinks from large bucket-skipping buckets. They are characterized by a scaphoid shape and a round spherical bottom; as a rule, they were suspended from a large bucket. Hook-shaped handles were decorated with cut ornaments in the form of ducks.

In the Russian North, skopkari buckets were carved from the root of a tree. A skopkar is a scaphoid vessel, similar to a ladle, but with two handles, one of which must be in the form of a bird's or a horse's head. For household purposes, skopkari are divided into large, medium and small. Large and medium - for serving drinks on the table, small - for individual use, like small cups. Severodvinsk skopkari were also cut from the root. They have a clear boat-shaped shape, the handles are processed in the form of the head and tail of a waterfowl, and in all their appearance they resemble a waterfowl.

Along with ladles and skopkarya, valleys or "yandovs" were the decoration of the festive table. Endova - a low bowl with a toe for draining. Large valleys held up to a bucket of liquid. Tver and Severodvinsk variants are known. The best Tver valleys are cut from burl. They represent a bowl on an oval or cube-shaped pallet with a gutter-shaped drain and a handle. The endova of the Severodvinsk type has the shape of a round bowl on a low base, with slightly bent edges, with a half-open toe in the form of a groove, sometimes figuredly carved. The handle is very rare. The initial processing of the described objects was carried out with an ax, the depth of the vessel was hollowed out (chosen) with an adze, then leveled with a scraper. The final external processing was carried out with a cutter and a knife. Samples of Russian wooden tableware demonstrate high craftsmanship developed by more than one generation of folk craftsmen.

It is difficult to say when the manufacture of wooden carved utensils began on the territory of Russia. The earliest find of a ladle dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. e. Archaeological excavations on the territory of Kievan Rus and Novgorod the Great indicate that the production of wooden dishes was already developed in the X-XII centuries. In the XVI - XVII centuries.the dishes made of wood were made by the serfs of the landowners and monastic peasants or archers. The production of wooden dishes and spoons was widely developed in the 17th century, when the demand for them increased both in the city and in the countryside. In the XIX century. with the development of industry and the appearance of metal, porcelain, earthenware and glass dishes, the need for wooden dishes is sharply reduced. Its production is maintained mainly in the fishing areas of the Volga region.

Nowadays buckets, scoops and table buckets are one of the favorite types of art products made of wood. Arkhangelsk craftsmen, preserving the traditional basis of the North Russian ladle, prefer not to varnish the velvety wood surface, slightly tinted in silvery or light brown tones. The masters of the Khotkovo craft near Moscow have created their own image of a modern ladle, a ladle-bowl, a ladle-vase decorating a festive table (Fig. 7). They are characterized by a powerful plasticity of forms, an unusual surface that gleams with inner light and a pleasant tone. A bucket-sail with a high-raised, spread-out sail-handle, on which, as a rule, a bush of the famous Kudrinsky ornament is carved, has become traditional for fishing.

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