This 20th Century decorative box is a fine example of Russian folk art. Made of paper mache, the boxes are coated with lacquer, before being hand painted. This particular box is on a black background. The detail on this piece is unbelievable. An intricate floral border, yellow in color surrounds the scene. This yellow is accented in the larger picture. On the left, a man dressed in red watches as a crowned woman (witch?) causes a magnificent plant to magically bloom. A crescent moon sits by her as clouds swirl above her head, indicating that the action occurs at night and that the content is dark. Another scene appears in the same picture, separated by an outcropping of rock, complete with its own tree growing out of it. Here an older woman motions to a younger woman who has rays of light faintly coming off of her head. Perhaps one of the women is the woman from the left scene in disguise. In both pictures earthy blues and greens contrast with reds and yellows. Trees mix with sky to provide a pastoral setting. The inside of the box is simply red, which is a stunning contrast to the lid. On the lower left hand of the picture, one can make out a Russian signature. On the bottom of the box it says, "Made in USSR." It is not surprising to find fairy tale subject matter from this period, since folk artists were no longer welcome to produce icons, the previous subject of choice for centuries. A great box for any collector of Russian or folk art.
L: 7 1/4 in. W: 3 1/2 in. H: 1 1/2 in.