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Dyatkovo Crystal-Glass
November 25, 2009 15:16

Dyatkovo crystal-glass ware production has existed for over 200 years and has a rich history. The artistic and material qualities of Dyatkovo crystal-glass make it a true pearl of Russian artistic glasswork.

Since long ago it has been considered the best cut-glass in Russia. In 1829 Dyatkovo crystal-glass was awarded Gold Medal at the first public exhibition of Russian manufactured articles. “Dyatkovo Crystal-Glass” is a local economic mainstay of Dyatkovo town, the Bryansk Region.

The enterprise was founded by the noblewoman Maria Maltsova in 1790. The plant started production of high-quality cut-glass with masterly thin facet cut and articles with flashed glass.

Starting as a small manufacture with only a hundred people of staff, the plant grew into one of the biggest glassmaking enterprises of Russia in the 19th century. As a rule, entire families worked at the plant, children and teens assisting their parents. As a result, there appeared dynasties of experienced virtuoso masters, whose professional secrets were passed on from one generation to another. The range of products was very broad and diverse; Dyatkovo crystal-glass ware became known all over Russia, “from peasant huts to tsars’ palaces”.


Servize Banketny
Thus, glass-makers from Dyatkovo used to make table sets for the Tsarskoe Selo. Their works can also be seen in Winter Palace (Petersburg), Yelagin Island, Gatchina, and Moscow Kremlin. They say that heads of many states happened to drink from Dyatkovo cups and glasses!

Though the labour of glassmakers remains hard today, it is still prestigious to be a glass master. Dynasties of glass-blowers still work at the plant and live in Dyatkovo. The plant takes a huge area in the centre of the township. Walls of the plant are close to a pond, on the opposite bank of which the Maltsovs’ estate used to stand in the past. A legend says that in olden days under the pond there was a secret subway connecting the estate with the plant.


Unburnt Bush
The Transfiguration Church built by the Maltsovs in 1810 was a world-famous sight in the 19th century. The white-stone “pearl” was often called the Eighth Wonder of the World for its interior design created by masters of Dyatkovo crystal-glass plant – a crystal-glass iconostasis, crystal-glass lamps and chandeliers, and unique candlesticks of flashed glass. The church also housed the family sepulcher of the Maltsovs. In the 1920s the church was totally destroyed by the Bolsheviks.

The Eighth Wonder has been recreated by modern glass masters in the form of the local Unburnt Bush Church. The Dyatkovo church of today also presents a unique sight. The church was built not long ago and consecrated in March 2003. The highlight of the church is a crystal-glass iconostasis. The glass masters assembled it from several thousands details with the total weight of eight tons! The church main chandelier is also made of crystal glass. Thus the modern generation paid tribute to their ancestors who had built the Transfiguration Church of 1810.

The brand of Dyatkovo crystal-glass is known in Russia and abroad. Today the enterprise offers a wide spectrum of gift table sets, handmade dishware and various souvenirs.

A trip to Dyatkovo can become an exiting and memorable excursion, with visiting the Museum of Crystal Glass, the Dyatkovo Crystal-Glass Plant (glass production is a very interesting process) and the unique Unburnt Bush Church with the only crystal-glass iconostasis in the world.


Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Crystal Glass    

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