Kholmogory bone carving. Artistic bone carving is among the most ancient forms of folk decorative art. The most famous folk art craft in northern Russia is Kholmogory bone carving, formed and practiced in villages of Kholmogory District of Arkhangelsk region. In the style of carving Kholmogory intersects the different cultural traditions: the North-Russian, Central Russian, Western European (borrowed drawings prints, equipment of Dutch and German craftsmen) and the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the North.
The first known examples of products performed in this manner, refer to the XVII century, but the carving techniques that distinguish this type of crafts from other similar developed only in the XVIII century. These include, for example, the combination formed through holes and relief ornament scene images, the use of color, adding colored foil.
For carving used mammoth ivory or bone, livestock (horses, cows). Reliefs may depict scenes from the life of the people, portraits and posters, from the XIX century – the animals and plants. For Kholmogory ivory is typical floral pattern, berries, and rocaille. The oldest type of such products were the ridges. In addition, in this style were produced snuff boxes, boxes, cups, table decorations, miniature portraits and even furniture, lined with plates of bone. There are also desktop sculptures, including a copy of the famous sculpture compositions (eg, a Moscow monument to Minin and Pozharsky).
During the Soviet period women’s jewelry was also produced. In 1930, the crafts was in decline. The village established Lomonosov vocational school, and later Kholmogorskaya carving shop named after Lomonosov (1932), later transformed into a Lomonosov carving on bone factory.
The first masters of the 17th century were Isachko Trofimov son of Solomatov, Selivanko Ivanov son of Vydrin, the Sheshinins – Evdokia, Semyon, Ivan, Vasily. All of them were taken from Kholmogory to Moscow to work in the Kremlin Armory.
Kholmogory bone carving reached its florishing during the reign of Peter the Great. Peter I, having become acquainted with Kholmogory bone carving, patronized craftsmen and provided them with samples of western art carving. Bone artifacts as souvenirs were given to very important people.
In the royal everyday life bone artifacts were constantly in use. After Catherine’s death, by the Supreme Privy Council, it was recorded that the Empress’s personal belongings were stored in two Kholmogory caskets. In private rooms Catherine had two carved ivory images (icons) in gold, as well as two bone images in a silver frame. This indicates a steady interest to the products of ivory – caskets, combs, icons and other items.
Throughout the 18th century bone cutting production and its artistic value increased. Bone and mother of pearl carver was the great Russian sculptor Fedot Shubin. As a youth he entered the bone carving workshop, and then by the example of his countryman left Kholmogory for St. Petersburg. Lomonosov managed to interest the President of the Academy of Arts, and Fedot was accepted to study sculpture. Shubin continued training in Italy and France, was elected an honorary member of the Bologna Academy of Fine Arts. On his return Fedot Shubin acquired wide fame.
Launched by Shubin success was completed by Osip Dudin, educated man, a lover of books. Several times Dudin carved ivory chess for the heir to the throne of Grand Duke Paul Petrovich. Rich caskets of floral designs combined with cut pattern, figures which included both plant motifs and variations of lush curls, that came to the Kholmogory Baroque and Rococo style.
By the late 18th century to the traditional caskets and boxes, miniature secretaries and bureau drawers and dressing boxes, snuff boxes and combs were added. For elegance and brightness of the background, the foil or silk were used.