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The Khokhloma Russian handicraft became known as early as the 18th century. The Russian handicraft of manufacturing wooden utensils with peculiar decorative painting imitating gilding received the appellation of Khokhloma art from one of the villages where it originally had been practiced in ancient times.

The lush "grass-leaves" decorative ornaments and their peculiar color scheme suggest that the Khokhloma art is rooted in the ancient Russian decorative culture while the imitation of gilt ornaments on wood dates back to the medieval Russian handicraft skills. The painting technique has been somewhat upgraded but remains essentially the same as in the ancient time.

The Khokhloma dishes, cups and wooden drink pots were used for serving food at holiday feasts. The wooden articles manufactured by serfs for the use at the Moscow house of an important statesman had to look valuable; accordingly, they were modeled on the rich painted plates decorated with real golden fabricated by the jewelers for the luxurious homes of the Russian nobility.

The Khokhloma style generally exhibits a combination of the red, gold, and black typical of the decorative painting of that region in late 17th century and first half of the 18th century. The three colors had a profound symbolism for decorating the sacred church vessels and the dishes and cups used in the monasteries and nunneries, as well as in icon ornaments.

In the Khokhloma art, as in the folk poetry, the plant images are endowed with a special meaning and the blooming plants symbolized the intensely invigorating power of the nature. The Khokhloma art evolved in the mainstream of the folk art of the Volga region and was influenced by other folk arts and crafts. New ornamental styles emerged in the Khokhloma painting in mid-19th century as the Khokhloma craftsmen adopted and reworked the motifs they found in the wood carving decorating houses, the gold embroideries, and the peculiar style of painting on the wooden articles manufactured near the town of Gorodets.

Even today the town of Semenov is famous for the skilful craftsmen who lived there in the last three centuries. The arts and crafts company "The Khokhloma Ornaments" employs about six hundred artists painting the articles, wood turners and carvers, spoon and cup makers, furniture designers, and the specialists who have mastered the secrets of the traditional Khokhloma color recipes and are developing the most advanced know-how in the Khokhloma painting techniques and materials.

Some of the Khokhloma articles are sold directly as souvenirs or decorative objects. Many have everyday household uses, such as dishes, cups, plates, salt cellars and set of kitchen utensils and dishes for serving Russian ethnic foods and setting festive table in a way traditional for Russian hospitality.

The articles produced by the Khokhloma craftsmen can be seen in any Russian household and have become an integral part of the Russian culture. The Khokhloma articles are exported to 35 countries where Russian folk arts and crafts become increasingly popular. The Khokhloma artists have been widely recognized in Russia as one can see from the numerous awards bestowed on them. In particular, the Russian government awarded the official State Prizes and other honors to many Khokhloma artists.

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