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Zhbannikovo Clay Whistle Toy
August 20, 2009 16:04

Zbannikovo toy is a traditional folk handicraft spread in the villages of Zhbannikovo, Rompino, Ryzhukhino and other settlements of the Gorodetski District of the Nizhni Novgorod Region. Clay whistles in the shape of birds, rams, goats, etc. is a very old kind of a charm toy. With the help of amusing whistles out ancestors kept evil spirits off and attracted good ones.

The Zbannikovo toy handicraft sprang up in the early 20th century. The local clay whistles gained fame in the 1930s, when new kinds of toys appeared in addition to the traditional ones, such as horsemen, for example, and the peculiar painting style, still preserved in the modern toys, took shape.

Zhbannikovo toy is modeled with hands, without any special tools. Zhbannikovo toys are recognizable with their distinct shape: the trunks of all figurines look like clay pyramids on three legs of base.

Quaint combination of colours in painting is created with use of dark enamel paints as the background, against which brighter spots are painted. Some details of the figurines are “silvered” with aluminum powder. The palette of Zhbannikovo whistles is utterly symbolic. Thus, white is the colour of life, red is the colour of warmth, yellow stands for bread and wealth, black embodies fertility, green is for growth and health, and blue is for the sky and fulfillment of wishes.

Presently in the villages of Zhbannikovo, Rompino, and Ryzhukhino they make over forty kinds of these painted clay whistles. One can see an array of works by Zhbannikovo masters and learn about the history of this handicraft in the Nizhny Novgorod Region Handicrafts History Museum (43, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya st., Nizhny Novgorod).

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Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Ceramics Folk Toys Whistles Russian Souvenirs 

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