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Traditional Khokhloma

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Traditional Khokhloma

(Хохлома)


Khokhloma (pronounced Hoh-low-ma) derives from the name of an ancient village deep in the forests of the Volga region. The secrets of production were passed from yesteryear's grandfathers and grandmothers to yesterday's fathers and mothers to today's sons and daughters. For over 300 years, skilled artisans would gather once a year during Easter, at trade fairs held in Nizhni-Novgorod, to sell their wares. Khokhloma ware is also known as "treen", a term for small and functional household items that are hand made from wood. During the 19th century wooden utensils such as spoons and bowls for porridge and soup were in everyday use. Antique Khokhloma in better than good condition is not commonly found. Khokhloma painting was neglected in the early 20th century, but revived in the 1920s and early 1930s, as master craftsmen formed artels, or workshops. In the 1960s, the Khokhlomskoi Khudozhnik Factory in Khokhloma and the Khokhlomskaia Rospis’ Production Association (Хохломская роспись) in the city of Semenov were founded, and became established as centers of commercial Khokhloma manufacture for the burgeoning tourist market. Thus, pieces made before the 1960s preceded the dawn of mass production. In the 60's, diplomatic relations had stabilized for the time being (Cuba notwithstanding) and the Soviet government sought "hard" (as opposed to their own "soft") currency.


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