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MOSCOW, August 15 (Itar-Tass) — An exhibition of Russian samovars, an inseparable symbol of a Russian tea-drinking ceremony, and products of national art craft Gzhel has been under way in Moscow since July.
The exposition featuring 140 Gzhel artifacts and about two hundred 18th-20th century samovars is on view at the Bread House (Khlebny Dom) at the Tsaritsino estate museum as part of the “Over a Cup of Tea” project.
“The exhibition features a unique and the world’s largest collection of Russian samovars collected by three generations of the Lobanov family from St. Petersburg. The samovars that are on view are real works of art which represent all famous samovar makers and the geography of the samovar-making business in Russia,” the project’s organizers say.
Pyotr Lobanov (1884-1966), an entrepreneur from St. Petersburg, started collecting the first samovars in the 1920s. His grandson Andrei Lobanov (1943-1998), an art critic who studied the history of Russian samovar, inherited the family business from his grandfather. It took him 30 years to collect the world’s largest collection of traditional Russian samovars. It includes works of factories from Tula, St. Petersburg, Moscow and other Russian regions. The samovars have the form of a vase, a cup, a pear, a turnip, a ball, a cylinder, a keg and a yurt. They are made of various materials ranging from copper to brass and plated silver decorated with bone and wood.
The highlights include samovars that belonged to the 1812 war hero Denis Davydov, Russian poet Alexander Blok, writer Mikhail Bulgakov, actress Vera Komissarzhevskaya and the head of the Russian provisional government Alexander Kerensky.
The Lobanov family collection is the only Russian private collection which had the honor to be demonstrated at a separate exhibition in the State Hermitage Museum of 1992. Apart from the samovars, the collection includes over 200 objects that create the atmosphere of a Russian tea ceremony: samovar trays, tea tableware, furniture, painting, graphics and printed materials.
“The Gzhel Bird” is another exposition that is on view in the Bread House alongside with the samovars. The exposition features modern Gzhel artifacts from a private collection of archpriest Alexey Potokin, who’s a lover and admirer of this Russian craft. It was Potokin’s idea to organizers the exhibition. Its aim is to show the special “outgoing beauty” of this dying craft.
“It’s funny, smart and beautiful.” This is how Potokin characterized modern Gzhel works created by contemporary authors over the past 20 years.
The visitors will have a chance to see and admire “the blue-white fairy tale” in all its decorative diversity until September 9. The display includes vases, jars, shtof-bottles, teapots, sugar bowls, caskets, plates, panels, bear mugs, salad-dishes, mantle and wall clocks as well as figures and groups created to the themes of well-known fairy tales, folklore stories, genre scenes and decorative landscapes.