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This interesting five-sided casket was painted by a talented Palekh artist Galina Kuzmenko. It shows several scenes from the popular Russian fairy-tale "Snowmaiden" or "Snegurochka".
Here is a plot of the story:
There was once a daughter born to Fairy Spring and Father Frost. This daughter was the most beautiful maiden that had ever been known, she had skin as pale as the snow, eyes blue like the sky, and thick blond hair that hung to her waist. She was the Snowmaiden.
Fairy Spring had to hide her daughter from the Sun Gold, whose rays could easily destroy the beautiful girl, so for a very long time Snowmaiden lived deep within the woods. But it was very lonely there, and one day Snowmaiden decided to take a long walk. As she walked she heard a beautiful sound. At first it was very far away, but it drew Snowmaiden closer and closer to its source. Snowmaiden followed it for a long time, all the way to the edge of the forest. There in an open field sat Lyel, a farm boy, playing his flute. Snowmaiden listened and watched him from the edge of the forest, and became enchanted with Lyel.
Snowmaiden went to the edge of the forest every day to listen to the farm boy play his flute. Lyel always ignored the beautiful girl standing in the shade of the trees, and instead danced with the girls who sat with him in the field. This broke Snowmaiden's tender heart, and she decided to go speak with her mother about it. "Mother," Snowmaiden began, "please let me feel real love". Fairy Spring understood that her daughter wanted the farm boy to fall in love with her. "If you want real love," Fairy Spring answered, "you must leave the protection of the forest and go into the open field where the boy plays his flute."
The next day Snowmaiden once again followed the sweet sound of Lyel's music to the edge of the woods. She stepped out of the trees, and walked into the opening. Lyel turned to look at her, and thought she was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen in his life. Just then Snowmaiden stepped into a ray of sunshine, which illuminated her beauty to its fullest. But the Sun God's ray was too strong for Snowmaiden, and she melted in front of Lyel's eyes.
On a lid we can see how Lel playing his song on a flute. On the side we can see other episods of a Tale.
Gold paint and aluminum paints are used to enhance the life and brightness of the scene. The costumes of the characters are also decorated with gold and aluminum paints.
The box rests on two platforms, that continues the sides. The edges of the lid and the sides are decorated with simple golden dot ornamentation.
The box is made out of paper-mache made. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. The lid is hinged from the top of the painting on a lid and the box is signed with the artist's name and Palekh.
The tale was also adapted into an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.