Bead Box “1917”
Made in Palekh, 1976
This decorated casket is the smallest exhibit in our collection. You can estimate
its size only by placing it next to a bigger item. The bead box is an exclusive
miniature casket with an unexpected dedication: it was made in the honour of
the Great Socialist October revolution of 1917.
The exact dimensions of this
small astonishing item are: 1.8x2.7
x2.2 cm! One must use a magnifier
to see its multiple and complex painted
scenes in full detail. The painting
complies with every tradition of the Palekh
style: black background, bright tempera,
golden paint, lacquer.
The scenes of revolution depicted on the bead box are in the best traditions of
the Palekh realistic school. On the upper lid, we can see the leader of global
proletariat, Lenin, standing on an armoured vehicle, addressing thousands of
revolutionary sailors and soldiers in Petrograd near the Finland Railway Station.
We can see other important “events” related to the revolution on the side panels:
the storm of the Winter Palace, rebellious Petrograd, the stage of the First All-
Russia Congress of Soviets of Worker and Soldier deputies, and revolutionary
The bead box is an almost forgotten item of Russian art and Russian
luxury. Nowadays it is nothing more than a nice souvenir. But even in
the beginning of the 20th century bead embroidery was a common and
popular hobby among aristocracy. Beads were quite expensive so ordinary
peasant women could not afford them. Women of high society used to
keep beads сin lacquered caskets of various colours and forms so that
they could easily find which they needed for the embroidery.