Three Maidens by the Window (Три Девицы Под Окном). From the Tale of Tsar Saltan (see below). A fine lacquer brooch with a detailed free-hand gold border, and colorful egg tempera paints on papier-mache and finished with clear lacquer. Attached with classic safety pin embedded into the back. Mstera, unknown artist, circa 1985. 2½" x 1½". 1 only, as shown. Gift boxed.
"The Tale of Tsar Saltan" is a poem written by Alexander Pushkin in 1831. Its full title is "The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan". The poem opens with Tsar Saltan overhearing three sisters making future plans. The youngest is chosen by Tsar Saltan to be his wife, and the other two sisters he employs as royal cook and royal weaver. This is the scene which is depicted on the box. The tale further continues. The two sisters are envious, of course. The Tsaritsa soon gives birth to a son who is named Gvidon. While the Tsar is away at war, the two sisters scheme to have their sister and her child sealed up in a barrel and cast into the sea. The young prince grows older while in the barrel, that eventually washes up on the shore of a remote island, Buyan. Prince Gvidon begins hunting and saves an enchanted swan from a kite (a type of hawk). The swan turns out to be an enchanted princess and the kite is an evil magician in disguise. The swan creates a city for Prince Gvidon to rule, but he becomes homesick, so the swan turns him into a gnat (in some versions he is a bumblebee). In this guise, he returns to visit Tsar Saltan's court, where he bites his aunt's eye and flees. Back home, the enchanted swan shows Gvidon a magical squirrel, which lives off of golden nutshells and emerald kernels. Gvidon builds the squirrel a crystal house of which Tsar Saltan hears and becomes intrigued. But the Tsaritsa's sisters dissuade Tsar Saltan and tell him of the marvel of the 33 bogatyrs (knights) and their master, Chernomor, who rises from the sea. These bogatyrs are the enchanted swan's brothers. The swan transforms Gvidon into a fly, who follows them all back to Tsar Saltan's court, where he stings the eye of his other aunt. The aunts scheme one last time by describing to Tsar Saltan a miraculous princess with a star above her head, but this princess is revealed as the Swan Princess. Gvidon and the Princess marry, the Tsar Saltan visits them often, and they live happily ever after.