Russian Lacquer Art

Painted lacquer boxes, popularly thought to be a traditional Russian folk art, are actually a product of the Soviet period. Lacquer painting involves a delicate and elegant miniature style, typically done on the lids of lacquered, papier-mâché black boxes, with crimson interiors.

The subjects usually depict Russian fairy tales, legends, and folk heroes. During the Soviet period, subjects also included scenes of rural life, industrialization, as well as Soviet leaders and heroes. Lacquer boxes, originally created for Soviet citizens, developed a worldwide reputation after being sold at international arts and crafts fairs. Fedoskino, Kholui, Mstera, and Palekh, are three of the most famous villages where lacquer art has been produced.