Bed, late 19th-early 20th century. Vologda region, Russia. Private Collection of Susan Johnson.

A Homespun Life: Textiles of Old Russia

Lower Gallery

This original exhibition presents over one hundred artifacts revealing the rich peasant culture of northern and central Russia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Featured are towels, bed skirts, area rugs, and pillow covers, along with spinning tools, garments, and costumes produced by peasant spinners, weavers and dressmakers. Designs and patterns were specific to regional centers of production, such as the Vologda, Riazan and Nizhnii Novgorod regions represented in this exhibition.

In 19th century Russia, traditional textiles were made at home. From planting the flax from which thread was spun to sewing a dress, women produced most everything needed by a peasant household. Long Russian autumns and winters were spent spinning, knitting, weaving, sewing, and embroidering. An elaborate display demonstrates the use of textiles in a peasant household at the turn of the last century.
Soviet modernization largely destroyed traditional Russian culture in the 20th century, but the remarkable objects on display in A Homespun Life: Textiles of Old Russia bring to life a peasant lifestyle long gone.

All items on loan from the collection of Ms. Susan Johnson.

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