At TheMusicHouse.com, we have an impressive selection of Russian-themed music gifts. Our music boxes with Russian art styles are just one type of gift that we have in our inventory. All of our music boxes are made and painted by hand, showing an unmatched quality and attention to detail. When you look closely at our Russian music boxes, you'll appreciate them as a work of art instead of any old keepsake box that you'd forget about. Our music boxes with Russian tunes are special. Just look at these incredible works of art, and you'll know. No matter who's on your list, whether it's the world traveler, the music lover or the art enthusiast, any of our gorgeous music boxes will make an unforgettable gift for them.
The two main types of Russian music boxes that we carry differ by their structures. One type is a traditional-looking music box that can come in a round or square design. The other is built to look like something else, whether it's an instrument or a signature building in Russia.
No matter the type of music box you ultimately choose, you'll find that each one has a unique art style. Even though two people may buy the same music box at TheMusicHouse.com, every box is a little bit different. Our music boxes aren't made by machines — they're made by hand to give them a truly one-of-a-kind look. Even if two people order the same music box, their products won't look identical.
Music boxes come from all kinds of different cultures in Europe. Russian music boxes are unique because they're painted with cultural motifs and use music from Russia. For instance, the country is known for its beautiful and talented team for the national ballet. These ballerinas are renowned all over the world as being some of the very best. You may see motifs like this painted on our Russian music boxes.
When you shop for a music box, you want it to really represent the culture it comes from. Fortunately, from intricate boxes built to look like famous buildings to scenes from famous musical works, every Russian music box in our inventory reflects a true inspiration of Russian culture.
Besides art, Russia has so many beautiful musical works. Every music box has a musical selection that reflects one of Russia's most iconic works. Scheherazade, a dramatic piece played by a symphony orchestra, and the Nutcracker, a world-famous ballet, are just a few musical pieces used in our Russian music boxes.
Antoine Favre, a watchmaker from Switzerland, is credited with inventing the music box in 1796. Switzerland is possibly best-known for their music boxes because of this history, but other countries in Europe quickly adopted this keepsake and gave it their own unique touch. Today, you can buy music boxes from almost any European country, like Switzerland, Russia, Germany and more.
Russian lacquer boxes evolved from the art of icon painting which almost died with the collapse of Imperial Russia. These icon painters, who decorated churches and people's homes, had to continue to make a living. Hence, the craft of making papier-mâché decorative boxes and panels developed. The pieces were lacquered and then hand painted by the artists, some with flowers, winter scenes and/or with scenes from folk tales.
The village of Fedoskino (Федоскино), on the banks of the Ucha River, fairly close to Moscow, is the oldest of four well known art centers that produce Russian lacquer miniature painting on papier-mâché. the art of which has been practiced there since 1795. It stands apart both geographically and stylistically. The style of Fedoskino painting is largely realistic in composition and detail. Oil paints are used rather than egg tempera and the artist is allowed a free hand in impressionistic interpretation.
The other three Russian lacquer art centers are: Palekh (Палех), Kholuy (Kholuy, Kholuj, Holui - Холуй) and Mstyora (Мстёра). The lacquer artists of Palekh, Kholui and Mstera continue to use the technique of painting in egg-based tempera overlaid with intricate gold leaf highlighting.
All three are situated in the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality, Ivanovo region of central Russia, and are deeply rooted in the 17th-19th century icon painting tradition, which lasted until the Russian Revolution of 1917 and is now being revived by young artists of the 21st century.
The quality of lacquer boxes varies widely. Tourists are frequently instructed that a signature on the bottom of the box indicates that a master painted it. However, the reality of the lacquer box industry is that most are painted in small factories where signing another artist's name is no more difficult than painting in his style. Instead of checking for the signature of an artist that can never be confirmed, instead consider the actual quality and detail of the artwork. Many of the lacquer boxes produced in the Soviet Union have exceptional detail and command astronomical prices, yet have no signature.
A matryoshka doll (Russian: матрёшка; IPA: [mɐˈtrʲɵʂkə] ( listen), matrëška), also known as a Russian nesting doll, or Russian doll, is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. The name "matryoshka" (матрёшка), literally "little matron", is a diminutive form of Russian female first name "Matryona" (Матрёна) or "Matriosha."
Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood. Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme; the themes may vary, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders. The matryoshka dolls are often referred to as "babushka dolls", "babushka" meaning "grandmother" or "elderly woman."
The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin, designed by Sergey Malyutin" who was a folk crafts painter at the Abramtsevo estate of Savva Mamontov"(a Russian industrialist and patron of arts)
The doll set was painted by Malyutin. Malyutin's doll set consisted of eight dolls—the outermost was a girl in a traditional dress holding a rooster. The inner dolls were girls and a boy, and the innermost a baby.
Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin were inspired by a doll from Honshu, the main island of Japan. Sources differ in descriptions of the doll, describing it as either a round, hollow daruma doll or a fukuruma nesting doll, portraying a portly bald old Buddhist monk.
Savva Mamontov's wife presented the dolls at the Paris, France Exposition Universelle in 1900. The toy earned a bronze medal and it didn't take long before matryoshka dolls were being made in several Russian locations and shipped around the world.
INTERESTING MODERN DAY FACT from the Guiness Book of Wolrd records "The largest set of Russian dolls is a 51-piece set hand-painted by Youlia Bereznitskaia (Russia). The largest measures 1 ft 9.25 in (53.97 cm) in height, the smallest 0.125 in (0.31 cm) in height. The set was completed on 25 April 2003. When all 51 pieces are lined up together touching, they measure 11 ft 2.25 in length. To break this record both the number of dolls in the set and the height of the tallest must be broken"
Browse our selection of musical Russian gifts above!