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Russian authors present first book of 9-volume series on development of the North

Along with the book for adult readers, the historians wrote a book for children

ST. PETERSBURG, January 25. /TASS/. St. Petersburg’s historians presented a book North’s Images, which unites images of northern themes in porcelain collections, photographs, paintings, and posters from St. Petersburg’s museums.

The authors are historians from the Hermitage, Russian Museum, the City Historical Museum and from St. Petersburg’s University. The book would be a part of a nine-volume series "North’s Development: Thousand Years of Success," devoted to the North’s development - from the museum point of view. This project was initiated and continues with support from the Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) in cooperation with museums from Russian cities - Veliky Novgorod, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vyborg, Omsk, Perm, Salekhard, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Krasnoyarsk and Norilsk.

"Every city, participating in the project, at first opens an exhibition and then publishes a book. The project has been implemented already in Veliky Novgorod and Moscow, and St. Petersburg is the third, it will be followed by Vyborg, Omsk, Perm, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Krasnoyarsk and Norilsk," Nornickel’s project director and head of the company’s humanitarian projects Yulia Kantor told TASS. The project would continue to 2019 - by that time the country’s biggest libraries and museums will receive all the nine volumes.

Veliky Novgorod’s book and exhibition told about first Russian expeditions to the North; the Moscow part told about first maps of the northern territories, about how they were etched and where they were printed. The volume, prepared by St. Petersburg, tells about the turning points in development of the North.

Polar bear

The most popular character in St. Petersburg’s part is the polar bear. The exhibition, and after it - the book, demonstrated images of that animal on porcelain plates, its first ever photographs, taken by members of the first polar expeditions. The Arctic Images’ conception author Irina Karpenko explained to TASS why images of the North and polar bear were used actively in advertising and printed materials in the late XIX - early XX centuries. According to her, the booming economic growth brought many Russian companies to European markets, and the businesses wanted to have clearly impressive images.

"The word ‘North’ and the polar bear’s images became very popular in the trade in the late XIX - early XX centuries, as many Russian companies accessed the European markets then. If a Russian company wanted to make clear its product comes from Russia and it is of high quality, it wanted to use in Europe the well-known Russian images. Those are winter, those are bears, and beautiful young women," the expert said. Images of Russia as a northern country became "a part of the Russian identity," she continued, and thus were used in advertising very actively at that time.

Along with the book for adult readers, the St. Petersburg historians wrote a book for children. "We were overwhelmed while working on the exhibition, and instead of elementary coloring pages, which we usually prepare for our exhibitions, we wrote another book," she said.

The children’s book has ten chapters, where kids learn history from stories, narrated by a polar bear. One of the stories is about the Ursa Major constellation, which name means Great Bear in Latin. The little readers also learn about perfume with northern names, and other stories.