The Pazyryk Carpet - the oldest carpet ever found, probably produced by the nomadic Scythian peoples of the Altai mountains in Siberia c. 5th century BC, discovered in a Scythian burial mound in the 1940s.
The decorations include winged griffins, horses and antlered deer motifs.
Now housed in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
more info here
“Russia! Russia! I see you, I see you from my wonderful, beautiful far away: how wretched, scattered and uncomfortable everything is about you. Everything in you is open, empty and flat; your low cities imperceptibly stick out of the plains like little dots, like little marks; nothing captivates and nothing charms the eye.
But what is this inscrutable, mysterious force that draws me to you? Why do my ears ring unceasingly with your plaintive song, that carries through all your length and breadth, from ocean to ocean. What is in it, in that song? Why does if so beckon, and sob and tug at the heart? What are those sounds that caress so painfully, steal into my soul and hover about my heart: Russia! What is it you want of me? What is the hidden inscrutable tie that binds us? Why do you gaze like that,. and why is it that everything in you has turned to gaze at me with eyes full of expectation?
And yet I stand here motionless, full of bewilderment, and my head is already: overshadowed by thunderclouds, heavy with imminent rains, and my mind is numb before your vast spaces, What does this immense expanse portend? Is it not here, in you. that thought without end should be born, since you yourself are without end? Terrible is the embrace in which this mighty expanse holds me, terrible the force with which it strikes me to the very core; supernatural the power with which it lights up my vision: Ah! What a sparkling, wonderous expanse, vaster than any there is on earth! Russia!”
Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls, 1835
photograph by Alexandr Kalion
People of Sakhalin island off the far east coast of Russia, 1894 - 1905
by Boris Smirnov 1903
Prison train-car drives some criminals to Siberian woods.
Icon of St George slaying the dragon
"On a recent visit to the British Museum I came across this beautiful icon.
It was found in 1959 in a small village in the district of Ilinsky on the Pinega river in Northern Russia by Maria Rozanova, wife of the prominent dissident author Andrei Sinyavsky. It was being used to shutter a barn window. When found all that was visible was an eighteenth century folk painting. Later in Moscow, under the hands of a professional restorer, various layers were stripped off to reveal this extraordinary image of St George slaying a dragon. Experts dated it to the end of the fourteenth century and attributed it to an artist from Pskov. St George sits astride a black rather than the usual white horse, hence Black George, cooly lancing a dragon in the mouth. The red cloak encircling and billowing behind his halo gives him flight.”
from Tales of the Amur
illustrated by Gennady Pavlishin
Lacquered Box 1929 Palekh
Illustrations by B Zabirokhin from White Swan - Russian Fairytales