Khokhloma Painting

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Khokhloma Painting


a Russian folk craft that originated in the second half of the 17th century in what is now Kovernino Raion, Gorky Oblast. The craft received its name from the trading village of Khokhloma (also in Gorky Oblast), which was the marketing center for Khokhloma painted wares from the 18th through early 20th centuries.

Khokhloma ware is made by an original technique of painting wood in a golden color without using gold. Turned wooden objects, chiefly bowls and the like, were coated with a loam of clay, raw linseed oil, and tin powder (now replaced by aluminum powder), on which floral designs were executed with free brushstrokes. The objects were then bathed with a lacquer of linseed oil (now with synthetic lacquer) and oven dried under high temperature. The characteristic color scheme combines red and black with gold. The two most common Khokhloma painting styles are verkhovaia (red and black on a gold background) and pod fon (gold silhouette design on a colored background).

Khokhloma painting went out of style in the early 20th century; however, it was revived in the Soviet period. In the 1920’s and early 1930’s the master craftsmen formed an artel. In the 1960’s the Khokhlomskii Khudozhnik Factory in Khokhloma and the Khokhlomskaia Rospis’ Production Association in the city of Semenov were founded, becoming centers of Khokhloma production. They produce dishes, spoons, furniture, and various souvenirs.

Masters of Khokhloma painting have included F. A. Bedin, A. T. Busova, O. N. Veselov, S. P. Veselov, E. N. Dospalova, Z. F. Kieva, O. P. Lushina, A. G. Podogov, F. N. Podogov, A. P. Savinova, M. F. Sineva, and I. E. Tiukalov.


Vishnevskaia, V. M. Khokhloma. Leningrad, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.