Khorovod: Walking following the sun. (Хоровод: Прогулка за солнцем). The Khorovod is an ancient Russian dance. The circular structure and movement of the khorovod originates from the pre-Christian worship of the sun god Yarila. These elements of national culture consistently played an important role in Russia over the centuries. Dancing is a leisure activity, and therefore there was a special time for it. In the spring, young people played a game known as “Stream” - a signifier of snow melting. In paganism, the first spring khorovods appealed to the gods of fertility. Holding hands, participants climbed the hills, devoting the dance to Mother Earth and calling spring. In July, they praised Kupala (Ivan Kupala is the Eastern Slavic folk festival dedicated to the summer solstice) and making a khorovod around the fire and with wreaths, they asked for the ripening of fruits. In honor of another character of Slavic mythology – Bereginya – the khorovod was made around a birch tree that symbolized the cleanliness and considered to be the patroness of family and earth. With Christianity, khorovods in rural areas began at the times when there was no Lent or work in the fields.
Tales with a khorovod figure prominently in Snegurochka (the tale of winter, melting snow and spring), plus tales which end with a ritual celebration such as Tsar Saltan, Vasilisa the Beautiful, and many others.
A fine lacquer box by Galina Vasilyvna Kuzmenko (Галина Васильевна Кузьменко), who was born in 1949 in the city of Buy (Буй), Kostroma region. From 1969 to 1974, she studied at the Palekh Art School and subsequently was employed in the Palekh art-production workshops for many years. Her works are kept in several Russian museums. Papier-mache, egg tempera paints, lacquer. Detailed decorative freehand scroll border in gold. A beautifully expressive box, signed by the artist, 1990. Approximately 3¼" x 1¾" x 1". 1 only, as shown.
Learn more about Palekh here.
Condition note: White or cloudy areas in the photos are "hot spots" caused by studio lights reflecting off the shiny lacquer. The box itself is brand new, and perfect.