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Torzhok Gold Embroidery
May 5, 2011 11:28


Torzhok Gold Embroidery, one of the kinds of Russian embroidery, is the folk art and craft, which appeared in Torzhok in the 13th century and was widely developed in the 18th century. The most ancient gold embroidery found in the city’s area was created over a thousand years back. These were gold-embroidered pieces leather that performed the function of local money.

Torzhok gold embroidery has the typical floral ornament with a motif of a rose branch; the basic pattern was decorated with curls, tendrils, and spangles that softened the transition from the relief ornament to the background.

Our ancestors had a special attitude to gold embroidery. It was an occupation considered worthy of tsarinas and boyar ladies. On holidays dresses with precious embroidery were hanged out all around town for public observation. A belt embroidered in gold threads was believed to have magic property and protect its owner from troubles.

Gold embroidery is exceptionally women’s craft. Throughout all history of Russia there was not a single man that would master it.

Method of Embroidery

Before an item starts sparkling with a gold pattern, a drawing is transferred with a pin onto a tracing-paper. Then the contour-pierced ornament is applied onto velvet, crepe or leather, and smeared with a mixture of kerosene and tooth-powder. Contour remains on the fabric and following this contour gold embroidery is performed. Sometimes silver threads are used for embroidery. Embroidery is one-sided: a gold thread is fastened to the fabric with a usual thread, which remains invisible.

History of Torzhok Gold Embroidery

The ancient town of Torzhok is located in the Tver Region. The town was founded by merchants in the 12th century. The place was convenient due to its position at the junction of trading routes. Nobody passed by without stopping there. Nobody left from there without buying some items of wonderful gold embroidery. After all, this craft appeared there nearly before the town itself.

Every woman in Torzhok used to make gold embroideries, even boyars, daughters of merchants and notable people. Gold embroidery was considered a true art. Boyars’ families competed in gold embroidery. They opened their own workshops and enticed the best skilled embroidery masters. And then they bragged before each other, whose dress was more richly embroidered.

Once Catherine II herself decided to arrive in Torzhok. Local masters did not need to invent anything to surprise the tsarina with. Certainly they chose gold embroidery. They decided to make a dress of blue atlas, and embroider gold lilies on it. The queen liked the dress so much that she took the creator of such a miracle to Petersburg with her. Evil tongues asserted that the talented girl looked very ugly. Therefore Catherine selected 12 most beautiful girls in Petersburg and sent them to master the skill of gold embroidery in Torzhok. She said that beautiful things had to be created only by beautiful people.

Many were amazed at gold embroidery. Among others, poet Alexander Pushkin admired it. He visited Torzhok about 20 times. Certainly, the poet could not but notice splendid embroideries and was inspired with the art of local masters. He accompanied letters to some of his girl-friends with gold-embroidered belts.

The glory of Torzhok still has not faded away. People still come here to purchase amazing gold-embroidered items, such as purses, handbags, pictures, flasks, and many others.

It was in Torzhok were costumes for the famous historical films War and Peace and Anna Karenina were embroidered. Some modern women of fashion, just like those in Pushkin’s epoch, order gold embroidered belts there.

Sources:
hnh.ru
letopisi.ru

 


Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Russian Embroidery Torzhok   

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