The Tale of the Golden Cockerel (Сказка о золотом петушке). Alexander Pushkin's The Tale of the Golden Cockerel (1834) is based on a short story "The Legend of the Arabian Astrologer" by Washington Irving.
The materials are egg tempera paints, lacquer and papier-mache box with a hinge. Titled "Золотой петушок" (Golden Cockerel) and signed by I. Turunov and "п. Холуй" (village of Kholui) and a registration number. 5¼"x 3½"x 1¾". Near fine condition. Circa 1960-65 or earlier.
Igor Ivanovich Turunov (Игорь Иванович Турунов) (1920- ?) was an early member of the older generation of Kholui village miniature painters. Kholui was the last of the lacquer production centers, after Palekh and Mstera, to organize, which it did in 1934. Turunov was trained as an icon painter, later in his career, taught at the Kholui Art School, which officially opened in 1943. Many important artists who were born in the 1950's studied with him. The painting on this box is a unique work of art and differs significantly in execution and style from Kholui boxes of the 1970's and 1980's. It was at that point that Kholui boxes, with the help of importers such as Lucy Maxym, became ubiquitous and far simpler in style.
The Tale of The Golden Cockerel. The story starts in the realm of Tsar Dadon, who once was a fierce warrior. But he eventually grew to desire the quiet life. Unfortunately this was not possible, as marauders continually raided his commonwealth. The Tsar believed within his heart that the country was in danger from the Queen of Shemakha (Ottoman Empire). Imploring an astrologer to help him defend his kingdom, the clever magician placed a golden cockerel atop a weathercock which crowed whenever an enemy approached. The rooster proved to be a splendid defender but the foolish Tsar decided he should strike at Shemakha first. He sent his two inept sons to battle but they only ended up getting killed. The Tsar then decided to lead his army into battle, but upon meeting the beautiful and seductive Queen in her silken tent, became infatuated with her and fell in love. The Queen quickly engineered a marriage proposal from him, but at the wedding, the magician suddenly demanded the Queen's hand in marriage. The tale ends with the death of both the astrologer and the Tsar and the reader is left to ponder the moral of heartless royal ingratitude.