Type of sourceDatabase “Metropolitan Museum of Art”
Fund that the source refers toMetropolitan Museum of Art
This object is from the collection of Natalia de Shabelsky (1841-1905), a Russian noblewoman compelled to preserve what she perceived as the vanishing folk art traditions of her native country. Traveling extensively throughout Great Russia, she collected many fine examples of textile art of the wealthy peasant class. From the 1870s until moving to France in 1902, Shabelsky amassed a large collection of intricately embroidered hand-woven household textiles and opulent festival garments with rich decoration and elaborate motifs. The Brooklyn Museum holdings include many fine examples including the majority of the garments. Portions of Shabelsky’s collection are also housed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg.
The animals are playful and somewhat naive in this charming piece of folk embroidery, though the rendering of the architecture and figures shows a marked degree of sophistication. Of particular interest is the design worked into the bobbin lace edging. The motif appears to be the goddess with arms lowered, wearing a floral headdress. The goddess motif is ubiquitous in Russian folk embroidery, a carryover from pre-Christian pagan religion.