On offer is a classic Mstera style Russian lacquer box made during the Soviet period as shown on it's label (see photo). The box has a Russian fairy tale scene with a young woman and two men in front of a small cottage among trees. The piece measures 2 3/4” X 2 3/8”X 1”. This type of lacquer work has been done in Russia for centuries, primarily in four specific towns, each with its own special style of art. They have always been prized by collectors both in Russia and in the outside world because of their beauty, durability and high quality of artwork. During the Soviet period they were continuously made as the work was considered a part of Russian culture and it also provided much needed Western money to their economy. If you are not familiar with this work it is done by taking either a light (think balsa wood) wood or equally often a box made of card stock type paper which is then coated with numerous applications of lacquer. Each coat of lacquer is baked in a special type of kiln or oven until it is completely dry and then the next layer is applied. Sometimes these simple black and red boxes can take almost a month to create! After all that is done then the artists begin to paint each one by hand with scenes from Russian fairy tales, historical paintings, portraits, folk legends, etc. When the painting is finished then the fine gold scroll work is applied, also totally by hand with fine pen tips and remember—one mistake and the box is ruined! After the decorative work is finished a final coat of clear lacquer is applied to protect the surface. This box is in excellent, used condition with no damage of any kind. As you will see in the last two pictures, this box is labeled on the bottom including the words “Made In
USSR” indicating that it was made for export to the West. On the cover of the piece you will see the artist's signature “Popovnina” in the lower right hand corner of the black border as well as “Mstera” to the left and at the top the title of the piece which, unfortunately I cannot read. It is a perfect start or addition to a collection of boxes in general or Russian lacquer in particular. Enjoy!