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State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art
The State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art has one of the largest collections of folk art in the ex-USSR countries. The museum's collections contain over 60,000 exhibits dating from various times. The history of the collection goes back to the late 19th century when a group of prominent Ukrainian and Russian cultural figures - A. Prakhov, D. Shcherbakivsky, M. Murashko and M. Bilyashivsky - sponsored the foundation of the Kiev Museum of Art, Industry and Science. Its ethnography department held a small collection of works of folk art. With time the collection was enlarged.
The museum exposition presents a vivid picture of the history of Ukrainian folk art. It consists of two departments - Ukrainian Folk Art of the 17th-early 20th centuries, and Soviet-time Ukrainian Art. Each department is divided into sections: weaving, embroidery, woodcarving, ceramics, clothing, glassware, porcelain and decorative painting. All exhibitions are arranged according to historical, chronological and ethnographic principles.
The collection of rugs, carpets and hand-woven and printed fabrics contains over 5,000 exhibits. Rug-making in Ukraine is a craft noted for its distinctly national style. There is a highly representative collection of art fabrics containing tablecloths, rushniks (decorative towels), national costumes and bedspreads adorned with beautiful ornamentation. Exhibits in this section represent the most famous hand-weaving centers in Ukraine, including Krolevets, Dihtyari and Bohuslav. Today large weaving factories function in these towns.
The collection of printed fabrics is rather small one, though it includes a number of rare exhibits dating from the 17th-19th centuries.
The collection of embroidered articles is the largest in
the museum, both in terms of number of exhibits on display and craft centers
it represents. Most of the articles came from the Poltava and Kiev regions.
A fairly rich collection is from Podolye; wonderful exhibits represent
Bukovina and the Hutsul lands.
Wood carving of the Soviet period is represented by the
creative works from the Kiev, Poltava, Chernigov, Sumy, Cherkassy and
Lvov regions as well as from Podolye, Volhyn, the Hutsul land and the
The museum's collection of glassware is one of the largest in Ukraine as well. Especially valuable, both from the historical and artistic viewpoints, are objects made at the so called "hutas", or glass workshops of the 17th and 18th centuries. Contemporary glass-blowers preserve the finest traditions of the past in their articles and yet comply with the demands of the times.
Decorative painting has been popular in Ukraine since ancient times, but it was only in the Soviet period that it became an independent branch of folk art, assuming the form of a decorative panel painted on paper in tempera, gouache or water-color. The museum boasts a collection of works by prominent masters of decorative painting.
The museum exposition is continually being enlarged with new works of art of the pre-Revolutionary period as well as with works from the Soviet and modern times.