Ilya Muromets (Илья Муромец) is the most well-known of the bogatyrs (epic knights) from the Rus' folklore. He is often featured alongside fellow bogatyrs Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich, memorialized in the famous painting by Viktor Vasnetsov of the three warriors seated on horseback. Although a legendary person, he is associated with the venerable Ilya Pechersky, a monastic saint of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Kyiv Monastery of the Caves).
According to ancient Russian legends, Ilya was the son of a farmer, born in a village near Murom. He was seriously ill for much of his youth until he was miraculously healed by two pilgrims. He was given great strength by Svyatogor, another legendary bogatyr. Subsequently, he was asked to join Prince Vladimir's army to liberate Kiev from idolaters. Ilya had to be convinced his simple life as a plowman.
Painted jigsaw cutout with wood burnt outlines. Hand made in Russia. 11" x 4½". 1 only.