“20th Convention of the Communist Party” Jewellery Box
This item was made at the “Folk Art (Narodnoye Iskusstvo)”
factory, in the village of Khotkovo, Moscow region, 1956
The delicately carved jewellery box, made of mammoth tusk, is transparent to the light.
This finely crafted decoration piece depicting an ideological scene was created in a small
Moscow region settlement and was dedicated to the 20th convention of the Communist Party.
This piece of art was dedicated to the only party of the
Soviet Union. The creator, taken-up by the ideas of
Marxism-Leninism, placed on the carver a relief with the
profiles of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, which was a
common subject-matter at the time. He did not know that
during this same convention the then Secretary General
Nikita Khrushchev would read his report “About the
Personality Cult and its Consequences,” and that Stalin's
portrait would disappear from the list of iconic Soviet leaders
for a long time.
Joseph Stalin, 1945-1946
The other sides of the jewellery box are decorated
with the traditional Soviet state symbols: USSR emblem,
ceremonial standards and red stars. One of the carved
scenes is dedicated to the First Convention of the
Party of the would-be Bolsheviks and Communists in
1898 (back then the party was called the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party, or RSDLP). The label
on the other side commemorates the 20th jubilee
convention of the party which was renamed as the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or CPSU, in
The sarcophagus-shaped jewellery box is made in the strict “Kremlin” style. Despite the ideological tint, this piece of
art astonishes with its subtlety. Also, the box is made of
a monolith, which makes it “durable.”
The name of the creator of this most interesting item has
lived through the history. A famous master of decorative
sculpture, K. G. Zorilov became one of the first bone carvers
in the Moscow region.
“The items made at the ‘Folk Art’ factory are immediately recognizable for their specific ‘Khotkovsky’ decorative work, the fine mesh of carved plant patterns. Such are the decorations on this jewellery box adorned with an image of an oak branch with acorns.”
The Russian folk artistic craft at Khotkovo is
relatively young. It dates back to 1947, when a “Folk Art” craft society was founded in the village. Since there was no local bone carvers, masters decided to turn to the art of bone carvers of the Russian North, namely of those of Tobolsk and Kholmogory, which they took as an example. Khotkovo masters mainly worked the bones of long-horn cattle, covering it with reliefs and fretwork and patterned engraving.