Posted 10 years ago
1971 Numbered Signed Palekh Oval Russian Lacquer Box. I am not of the value. Also, I am unsure of the name signed on it. Can anyone please identify it? Thanks! Here is the info I have for it....
THe Tale of Prince Ivan & The Firebird
I recently acquired this beautiful Russian lacquer box from the estate of a collector in Beverly Hills California. It depicts the part of the legend of Prince Igor and the firebird from Russian folk tales in which the Prince who has, at his father the Tsar's command, captured the firebird cannot hold on to it and as the firebird escapes his grasp it loses one golden feather.
The box measures 6" wide by 3 1/2" deep and 1 2/8" tall and has a removable lid. There is not only the miniature painting on the lid, but also a gilded gold border along the base of the box and features tiny silver flowers and intricate gilded scrollwork. This type of decoration is done completely by hand and there is no margin for error! The lid of the box is painted in the Palekh style with delicate gold scrolls and accents which make the painting almost glow in the light. This type of lacquer box takes anywhere from 2-4 months to make as it is made by coating a base box of very thin wood or even a type of paperboard with layer upon layer of lacquer which is then dried slowly in a special type of kiln. Each layer must be completely dried before the next is applied. When the box is finished the artist begins his or her work on the lid painting which is essentially a miniature oil painting. Once the lid painting is finished it too is coated several times with layers of clear lacquer and "baked" again to seal and protect it. This type of work has been done in Russia for centuries and even during the Soviet Era was preserved as a national treasure for future generations. Exports of these boxes were tightly controlled until about the mid-1990s after the fall of the Soviet system took place. This particular box is from the still controlled export days.
It is in excellent used condition with no damage of any kind. This box is signed on the lower part of the lid which I cannot read but it is numbered 17897 and is dated 1971. There is also a gilded tiny dot border around the edge of the lid, again all done by hand. These high quality works of Russian art have always been costly and will continue to appreciate in value as time goes on—especially signed, dated pieces like this one which was exported to the West at the height of the Cold War during the Soviet Era.