Casket “Comrade Stalin is Leading
Us to Communism
A gift to Joseph Stalin for his 70th birthday from
the young artists of Palekh, 1949
This round casket is made of papier-mâché is a marvel of
lacquered miniatures, mastered by Palekh artists.
The artists of Palekh, a well-known crafts centre in Central Russia, illustrated
all of the known stages and history of formation of the Soviet state on the eight
sides and the round lid of the casket.
This quite large casket has a diameter of 33 centimetres. On the outer side of the lid
you can see the image of comrade Stalin standing elevated in front of the Spassky
tower of the Kremlin, Victory Day fireworks and high flying red standard with the
image of Lenin on it. Beside this illustration is a memorial of the 17th-century
national heroes Konstantin Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky and the image of one
of the famous Stalin's skyscrapers, which symbolized the bonding of grand eras.
The exquisitely illustrated scene is just a part of the magnificent miniature. Around Stalin,
surrounded by fine ornamentation, just like seals on ancient Russian icons, are the
groups of happy Soviet people: workers and collective farmers, scientists and soldiers in our
country, and saluting pioneers. You can also see here the images of unlimited natural resources
grand Soviet buildings and firm boundaries, protected by the mighty army. This finely
painted, heavily populated miniature by itself emits the feeling of an extraordinary masterpiece.
The following inspirational inscription in gold asserts the expression of absolute
“ideological” enthusiasm, which fulfilled the Palekh artists:
“Communism is near and we look ahead,
We treasure every hour of our lives,
We are invincible under Stalin's command,
No one can stop our strides!...
You can see the scenes of the achievement of communism on all sides of the octagonal casket. You can also read
interesting explanations and poems, written by Palekh workers. These texts show you the real and unparalleled
positive enthusiasm of the Soviet people. For example, this is how the workers welcomed Bolshevik Lenin in Petrograd:
On the inner side of the lid you can see a hearty message inscribed in gold “To
our father and friend, the wise leader and teacher” on his 70th birthday from the
staff of artists at Palekh Artists' Cooperative.
Collection custodian:
“You can spend hours upon hours, minutely observing each of the Palekh
lacquer miniatures. On this casket, the minutest of details are the most
important: facial features, details of clothing and nature, fine ornamentation,
compose of Soviet symbols. This makes the casket an exclusive piece of art.”