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Published August 04, 2022 Updated August 04, 2022

Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures

Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures.

Russia Folklore Palekh Add to Collection

Palekh and Kholui (along with the lesser known Fedoskino and Mstiora) are the main centres of Russian lacquer miniature production. Notable for their bright colours, subtle brushwork and refined drawing, these decorated boxes, caskets, panels and other artefacts recount fairy tales, folklore traditions, and past and contemporary life.

The history of lacquer painting goes back to 1798 when the Moscow merchant Petr Ivanovich Korobov founded a papier-mâché factory in Danilkovo, a suburban Moscow village. It has evolved over the centuries into a most original, skilled, detailed and artistic handicraft.

Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures

Above: Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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