Folk Handicrafts

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Folk Handicrafts


one of the forms of folk art, particularly the production of works of decorative applied art. Many folk handicrafts originated in remote antiquity, when domestic and village crafts first appeared. As commodity-money relations developed, cottage industries producing artistic objects for the market emerged. Under capitalism, folk handicrafts were produced in private workshops that were drawn into the overall capitalist market system. Often these workshops were unable to compete successfully with factory-made goods and disappeared.

At the turn of the 20th century, folk handicrafts revived in many countries. In the socialist countries the revival acquired a systematic character through the formation of handicraft cooperatives and with the aid of special research institutes. In countries, chiefly Asian and African, where capitalist commodity-money relations were less developed, folk handicrafts continued to flourish.

There are many types of handicrafts, including embroidery, ceramics, lacquer-work, rug-making, and the artistic working of wood, stone, metal, bone, and leather.

Famous handicrafts of the peoples of the USSR include Abramtsevo-Kudrino wood carving, Bogorodsk wood carving, Velikii Ustiug Niello silverwork, Vologda lace, Gzhel’ ceramics, Gorodets painting, Dymkovo toys, Elets lace, and Zhostovo painting. Also renowned are Kirov Kapo-koreshok wood articles, Kosov handicrafts, Kresttsy embroidery, Kubachi handicrafts, Mstera embroidery and miniatures, Oposhnia ceramics, Palekh miniatures, Skopin ceramics, Tobol’sk bone carving, Torzhok gold embroidery, Fedoskino miniatures, Kholmogory bone carving, Kholui miniatures, Khot’kovo bone carving, Khokhloma painting, Chukotka bone carving, and Shemoksa birchbark work.


Narodnoe iskusstvo SSSR ν khudozhestvennykh promyslakh, vol. 1: RSFSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Russkie khudozhestvennye promysly: Vtoraia polovina XIX-XX vv. Moscow, 1965.
Dolins’ka, M. Maistry narodnoho mystetstva Ukrains’koi RSR: Dovidnik Kiev, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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