Russian Folk Handicrafts

Golden Khokhloma


Northen Folk Art - Mezen

Lipetskiye Uzory

Russian Matryoshkas

Sergiev Posadskaya Matryoshka

Semionovskaya Matryoshka

Polkhovsky-Maidan Matryoshka
Vyatskaya Matryoshka

Russian Easter Eggs

Faberge Jewellery

House of Faberge

List of Faberge Eggs

Imperial Eggs

Faberge Works
Famous Collections of Faberge

Russian Linen

Russian Shawls

Russian Orenburg Shawls

Pavlovo Posad Shawls

Russian Cashmere Shawls

Lacquer Painting





Russian Icon Painting

Origin of Icons
Early Russian Icons
Golden Age of Russian Icon
Understanding Icons
Icon Painting Schools in Russia
Russian Icon in the Modern Age
Russian Icon Painters
Famous Russian Icons
Icon Painting Nowadays
Icon Restoration

Porcelain & Ceramics

Lomonosov Porcelain
Lomonosov Porcelain Factory Under the Tsars
Lomonosov Porcelain Factory After the Revolution
Lomonosov Porcelain Factory Today


Samovars & Trays

Traditional Samovars

Tula Samovar

Zhostovo Trays

Nizhny Tagil Trays

Russian Watches








Russian Cuisine

Russian Traditional Food

Russian Drinks
Russian Vodka
Samogon - Home Made Vodka

Hand-Made Lace

Vologda Lace

Yeletskie Kruzheva

Russian Glassware
Dyatkovo Crystal Plant
Gus-Khrustalny Crystal Factory

Russian Traditional Toys

Toys of Old Russia
Russian Toys Today
Dymkovskaya Toy

Bogorodskaya Toy

Made in Russia
Made in Russia

contact us:
15/113 generala simonyaka street
198261 st petersburg
phone: 8 812 9136128

Zhostovo Trays

Zhostovo Trays
The village of Zhostovo outside Moscow has become a symbol of unique Russian folk art. For more than 150 years many of its inhabitants have been developing the skill of decorating trays. Their skillful hands have turned this household utensil into a work of art.

Bouquets or garden and field flowers strewn against the black background adorn these trays, giving people joie-de-vivre and awakening admiration over the beauty and diversity of nature. Every human being shares these feelings, and therefore few people remain indifferent to the Zhostovo craft, which has long become world famous.

Zhostovo wares belong to the family of Russian lacquers, whose history goes back to the emergence of miniature lacquer painting on papier-mache in the village of Danilkovo near Fedoskino in the Moscow Region, in the late 18th century.

The tray as a household utensil had been known since times immemorial, but in the 19th century the demand for trays rose as a result of the growth of cities and the expansion of the network of hotels, eateries and bars, where trays were used both for their immediate purpose and as interior decorations. It was that new market that enabled the Zhostovo masters to establish themselves as a distinctive tray-making industry.

Every tray was usually handled by three craftsmen - a smith, who produced shapes, a spatler, who covered the tray with a layer of ground, and a painter, who did the painting. After the tray was dried, the ground-worker covered it with lacquer. In the beginning the workshop master and members of his family worked on a par with other employees.

As the Zhostovo craftsmen expanded production, they took account of and absorbed the experience of other tray-makers. They were prompted the idea of replacing papier-mache with metal, which was hardier, by trays from Nizhny Tagil, which had become a well-known production in the 17th century. Those masters were making large trays painted from original canvasses or engravings.

The Zhostovo masters admired the virtuoso mastery of St. Petersburg trays and learned from them the art of decorative still life, also adapting it to fit their own wares. Along with absorbing some of the techniques of other tray-makers, the Zhostovo craftsmen primarily tried to develop their own style of decorative floral compositions. Local artistic traditions and the creative development of the main accomplishments of other crafts enabled Zhostovo craftsmen to evolve their original style and a unique system of the local craft that are manifest in every piece dating to that period.

The Zhostovo masters painted their trays on colored and golden backgrounds as well as on black and white ones. The surface of the tray was prepared with bronze or aluminum dust which, showing through lacquer, shone like gold and resembled the famous Khokhloma wares. The colors looked especially vibrant against the golden background and the tray seemed a really precious item.

In the 1910s, Zhostovo tray-making, like many other folk crafts, was hit by a crisis. The demand for trays had slumped, and production was shrinking. Painters and smiths were leaving their workshops for farming or seasonal work. It was only in the 1920s, with the overall revival of folk crafts and the rebirth of artels across the country that they remerged around Zhostovo.

In 1940, the Fedoskino vocational school opened a department of Zhostovo painting to train young craftsmen. Two remarkable Zhostovo painters, P.Plakhov and V.Dyuzhayev, taught there for many years, the activity that was responsible for their emergence as original masters. They trained several generations of young craftsmen, who developed in their own way the Zhostovo painting traditions, and themselves represented two different, highly dissimilar aspects of the local craft.

Another stage in the history of Zhostovo craft started in the 1960s and continues to our day. Overcoming tendencies leaning toward easel painting and natural is in, tray painting has been gaining in prestige and popularity not only owing to large-scale output of serial works, but also owing to unique items that increasingly attracted public attention at numerous exhibitions both at home and abroad.

Zhostovo craft has been developed by several generations of craftsmen, who formed painter dynasties. Their works are stored as a national treasury and exhibited by major national museums.

Constantly perfecting their craftsmanship, Zhostovo painters give free rein to improvisation, demonstrating diverse styles and techniques.

Modern Zhostovo craftsmen are increasingly turning the tray from a household object into a work of art, and decorative Zhostovo painting is elevated to the level of an independent genre capable of addressing directly people's thoughts and feelings.

Zhostovo trays have transformed from a household object into full-fledged decorative panels in the course of their history, and the craft, which served as an auxiliary source of income for farmers, has acquired the status of a unique Russian folk art.

read more


Click Here to Buy Gifts&Souvenirs Derectly from Russia

Russia from All the Sides:

Welcom to the World of Faberge

Treasures of the World - Faberge Eggs

Welcom to the World of Faberge

Russia Art. Mezen Painting and Palekh

Russian Cuisine (Recipes, exchange board, English Translations for russian Herbs)

Russian Orthodox Church (History, Icon Painting, Church Music, Major Holidays)

Russian Folk Art

Best of Russia (History, Culture, Life, Royal Family, Major Cities)

Russian Collections (Icons, Folk Arts, Modern Art)

All About Vodka

Official Site of the Company Producing Stolichnaya Vodka

home faberge eggs watches icons Lace Khokhloma linen porcelain matryoshka toys samovars food