Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Picturesque Trays from Zhostovo

daisies, pond yellow lilies...

I am always amazed at the beauty and brightness of metal trays from the small town of Zhostovo, on the Klyazma River. I think these trays were not used at home, especially such beautiful ones. Most likely, these were interior items. And every time I walk past a gift shop, I see amazing trays.
Zhostovo workmanship is a handicraft of painting on metal trays, preliminary coated with a few layers of priming and oil varnish. The most widely used motif of the Zhostovo painting is a simple bunch of mixed garden and wild flowers.

dahlias, daffodil, lupine...

apples, plums, grape...


The trays were made by a blacksmith according to the old craft tradition: the shape and size of the tray depends on his work. The image usually lies on a smooth background, which may be black, white or other color. I show you different types of these items painted with flowers, fruits and vegetables.


pears, grape, apricots, cherry...

a Jag, a basket and a bowl with fruit 

The image looks voluminous, it seems as if it comes from the depth. Light patterned lace from various "herbs" surrounds the bouquet around the edges, fitting it into a smooth background.  
I like trays on a white background with wildflowers or berries. What tray would you buy for your home?

a bird and pomegranates


cornflowers, daisies, poppies...


The hand-forging of a base for future tray started from 1830. The exact dates of manufacture were stamped on the backs of trays. They were popular in St. Petersburg, Moscow and other cities. Not only flowers were depicted by artists of Zhostovo but fruit, veggies, berries, birds,  landscapes and folk scenes. 
As I said up to these days the art stays purely decorative.

a waxwing and rowan berries

a bird and cherry

The appearance of Zhostovo craft is associated with lacquer miniature on the papier-mache boxes, which was manufactured in a near-by village of Fedoskino. 
To know more about lacquer miniature you could in my another post Russian lacquer miniature


Friday, November 15, 2019

The Prague Botanic Gardens

When I've been to Prague I decided to see the Botanical Garden. It's an oasis of peace and tranquility. There are greenhouses, open-air expositions with various gardens, and a vast territory with vineyards.
Open expositions occupy a huge area. I walked along a beautiful stony trail watching the plants of the Mediterranean basin and Turkey. Then I came to the section of North American semi-desert plants.

The garden is located on a hill and many paths go up and down the hill. It reveals beautiful views of the Botanical garden landscape and plants.

The tropical greenhouse Fata Morgana is located in the southern side of the Botanical garden. The greenhouse covers more than one 1700 meters, there is a unique botanic exposition.
The largest part is occupied by wet tropical rain forests with beautiful orchids, water plants, palms. I loved to be there: orchids, warm air, water and fishes in the pool.

The other sections of the Conservatory are dedicated to flora typical for mountain territories, tropical and subtropical plants of America, Asia and Africa, the Australian bush and Madagascar.

In the park I found a gazebo on a hill and after sitting in a shade and having tasty lunch in a restaurant I continued along the paths up and down the park. 

Then I went up to the Japanese garden. I like to see Japanese gardens in every Botanical garden I visit :-) I imagined how wonderful this one looks in spring with a murmuring stream between stones, maples and blooming rhododendrons.

Flowers, shrubs, conifers grew along the paths. I liked the corner of the garden where conifers and plants with different foliage were combined.
It's all for now. If you're interested in Vojanovy sady in Prague, visihere.


My videos about Prague gardens:


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Häme Castle, Finland

I spent one autumnal day of September in the city of Hämeenlinna, Finland. I've rarely been visiting old castles and this visit surprised by beauty of ancient castle and nature. I got acquainted with the history of the castle, climbed the narrow stairs in the walls and towers of the castle. 

Häme Castle, a medieval castle in Hämeenlinna, Finland is currently a museum operated by the Finnish Heritage Agency.  
The Castle was built during the late 13th century to serve as military base in the border zone between Sweden and Russia. The Russian Novgorod Chronicle only mentions one castle in 1311, its description matching well with this castle. The first castle was made of gray stone, and later bricks were used. At the end of the Middle ages the castle was governed by Sweden. 

I liked a beautiful view of the lake, the moat and the surroundings that opened from the narrow windows of the tower.

In addition to its status as a military fortress and home for Swedish nobility, the castle has seen use as a prison from 1837 to 1953.

The museum presents statues of medieval knights that were located in some ceremonial halls of the castle. There were even clothes of people of those years that visitors could try on. I tried on - the clothes were much shorter than me. Probably people in the Middle Ages were smaller than we are now.
During the Middle Ages the original fortified camp was built for its commandant.

The medieval castle of Häme was originally located on the island. The island has been connected to the coast for centuries, and now the castle is located on the shores of Lake Vanajavesi, Finland. Lake Vanajavesi is one of Finland's largest lakes and is very popular.

The main castle is now presented as a historical monument and has been a museum since 1988.
What do you think of visiting the old medieval castle? What do you expect to see there?