Open the windows and glimpse Siberian history

Finding the unusual and beautiful is the most exciting, adrenalin filled experience and I love it. When I set out for the day I am never quite sure what I am going to find.

This is what happened one day when I visited a dealer who brings in all sorts of interesting items from Northern Europe and beyond and I can usually be guaranteed to find something really special.

What initially caught my eye was some intricate carving and a flash of soft green paint. OK, now my interest was grabbed ‘Sam what is this?’ I ask. Climbing over chairs and tables I get to it and it’s a frame with shutters that are closed. Heaving the table back I stood in front of the most charming and captivating window frame I had ever seen. This sparked my interest to find out more.

I discovered that the window had come from a village called Volkovo in Siberia and what struck was the beautiful colour and the detail of the carving.

Villages and towns started to expand as part of the Russian Empire in the 1580s and nearly a century later as tea trade pushed into Siberia from China. These villages grew, as did the wealth of the people and homes became more embellished with beautiful wooden trimmings to show their wealth and place in society. These have pagan origins and were used to bring good fortune with harvests, childbirth and to keep evil spirits from their homes.

After the Bolshevik revolution this elaborate decoration completely stopped, so most frames found today are pre-1917 and more likely to be around the 1850s. These frames are so well preserved as a result of the Siberian climate.

Sadly as so called progress moves on, these wooden houses have come under threat. What I find fascinating is the the social history attached to this one item, and that’s an integral part of its charm.

It’s all very well falling in love with the unusual, but I did wonder how it could be used in the English home today? When I pulled back the shutters I realised that it would make the most stunning and beautiful mirror.

Finding the unusual and beautiful is the most exciting, adrenalin filled experience and I love it. When I set out for the day I am never quite sure what I am going to find.

This is what happened one day when I visited a dealer who brings in all sorts of interesting items from Northern Europe and beyond and I can usually be guaranteed to find something really special.

What initially caught my eye was some intricate carving and a flash of soft green paint. OK, now my interest was grabbed ‘Sam what is this?’ I ask. Climbing over chairs and tables I get to it and it’s a frame with shutters that are closed. Heaving the table back I stood in front of the most charming and captivating window frame I had ever seen. This sparked my interest to find out more.

I discovered that the window had come from a village called Volkovo in Siberia and what struck was the beautiful colour and the detail of the carving.

Villages and towns started to expand as part of the Russian Empire in the 1580s and nearly a century later as tea trade pushed into Siberia from China. These villages grew, as did the wealth of the people and homes became more embellished with beautiful wooden trimmings to show their wealth and place in society. These have pagan origins and were used to bring good fortune with harvests, childbirth and to keep evil spirits from their homes.

After the Bolshevik revolution this elaborate decoration completely stopped, so most frames found today are pre-1917 and more likely to be around the 1850s. These frames are so well preserved as a result of the Siberian climate.

Sadly as so called progress moves on, these wooden houses have come under threat. What I find fascinating is the the social history attached to this one item, and that’s an integral part of its charm.

It’s all very well falling in love with the unusual, but I did wonder how it could be used in the English home today? When I pulled back the shutters I realised that it would make the most stunning and beautiful mirror.

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