The Snow Maiden (Снегурочка). Palekh, 1961. A gem of a box that depicts the heroine of many Russian fairy tales standing amidst a garden to which she is bidding farewell. At the end of the story, in the spring, she disappears. She is dressed in a blue jacket and yellow sarafan. Her head is tilted in a gesture of fondness for all that she will no longer see.
The artist: Antonina Ivanovna Smolova, born in 1925, studied at The Palekh College of Art from 1943-1948. She became a member of the Association of Palekh Artists after graduation, and, in 1954, came to work at The Palekh Artistic and Industrial Workshop. She was already a mature artist when she painted this piece. Signed and dated. Egg tempera, lacquer, papier-mache. 5⅛" x 4" x 1½". 1 only, as shown. Note: rubbing to bottom of box, all else is near fine.
A long time ago in a Russian village an old peasant with his wife. Although they loved each other very much and had many friends, they were childless. One winter day, as they watched village children build a snowman, they decided to create one too, which magically became a real girl! There was joyous singing, dancing and celebrating in the village that night. After much time had passed, and when the first signs of spring appeared, the little Snow Maiden (also known as Snegurochka) told her parents that she will be leaving up north to the land of snow. She stayed away for many months, but reappeared when Winter returned.