25 March, 2009

Items from the past

"As they lived" reconstructed houses often have items or tools on display that are no longer in use in our modern world. I had a couple of questions about the "things" in the right side of the photo here:

They are miniature/reproduction distaffs - прялки.

As I don't spin and therefore really can't say how/why fibers were placed at the top for "ease in spinning" according to Wiki, I'll let others tell ME why it was a "good" thing.:)

Here is a Russian lacquer box from the 1990's with the seamstress sitting on top of the board of her distaff. I believe the fairy tale depicted is from Finist the Falcon, but I'm not 100% positive.

I was told that after collectivization in the USSR, use of highly decorated distaffs became a thing of the past. One can see a lovely collection of прялки in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and in several museums in Moscow. I had more than one opportunity to purchase a distaff at a flea market, but felt so strongly about taking a "national folk art" treasure out of the country that I just couldn't make myself buy one.

I have several Russian publications with photos of beautifully decorated distaffs:

and from inside the larger book:

if you want to walk with a distaff AND spin, look at this link !

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