This amazing Russian hand crafted box is made from Linden Wood with inlaid straw. The artist uses rye straw to create the detailed architectural scene of one of St. Petersburg's most famous Cathedrals SMOLNY CATHEDRAL and its famous Onion Domes on the lid of the box. The Russian name for ST. PETERSBURG is written in straw on the side of the box (see detailed picture below). These boxes are incredible to see in person and each one comes with a note translated from the artists. EACH BOX IS TRULY A WORK OF ART!! The beautiful box measures approximately 6.25 inches by 4.25 inches by 1.5 inches deep.
The Smolny Cathedral was meant to be the main church of a convent to house Elisabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, who had been banned from ruling the country and therefore decided to become a nun. But as soon as her predecessor was overthrown during a coup carried out by the royal guards, she decided to forget the whole idea of a stern monastic life and happily accepted the offer of the Russian throne. The blue and white Smolny Cathedral is one of the most fabulous works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli (the creator of the Winter Palace, the Grand Catherine Palace in Pushkin, the Grand Palace in Peterhof, and other major landmarks). The cathedral is the centerpiece of the convent, built by Rastrelli in 1748-64. When Elisabeth's reign came to a close, the funding for the convent had quickly ran out, so Rastrelli was unable to build a huge bell-tower that was planned and to finish the interior of the Cathedral. The building was finished only in 1832-35.
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A NOTE FROM THE ARTISANS:
THE STORY OF RUSSIAN INLAID STRAW BOXES AND STRAW INCRUSTATION
Your inlaid straw box was made in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the city of Kirov. The boxes range from 60x60x30mm up to 200x200x200mm. They are made of all natural materials. The wood is Linden Wood and is dried for two years before it is cut into the shape of the box. First the wooden core of the box is created. Then the box is covered with several layers of nut and lacquer substances. It is only after that point that the incrustators begin their meticulous work. Innovative methods of incrustation allow them to achieve high quality and sophistication. For incrustation they use thinly shredded pieces of rye straw, which is first bleached and treated with heat in order to get the different shades of color. It takes 300 to 15,000 pieces of straw in order to create a design, depending on the box’s size. Incrustators manually carve and apply each of the pieces to the box. The patterns of pictures used in the creation of the boxes are approved by the Russian Artistic Council, which testifies to their high artistic value.