Shemogsa Carved Birch Bark

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shemogsa Carved Birch Bark


a Russian craft that originated in the mid-19th century in the region near the Shemogsa River, in Kurovo-Navolok, Pogorelovo, Krasavino, Berniatino, and other villages near Velikii Ustiug. In Soviet times a carved birch-bark shop was organized at the Shemogsa Furniture Combine in Vologda Oblast.

The traditional designs of Shemogsa carved birch bark, including plants, birds, animals, and people, are outlined on strips of birch bark with a blunt awl and are cut out with a sharp knife, with the background removed. Colored paper or foil is sometimes placed beneath the openwork, and the carving is supplemented with embossing. Strips of decorated birch bark are glued into recesses on the surface of decorative wooden boxes, dishes, and frames; they may also be made of two layers of birch bark, for example, tuesa (a type of round covered bowl).

Outstanding masters of Shemogsa carved birch bark include I. A. Veprev, his son A. I. Veprev, and his pupil N. V. Veprev. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the traditions of the trade have been continued at several enterprises in Vologda and Kirov oblasts.


Vishnevskaia, V. M., N. I. Kaplan, and S. M. Budanov. Russkaia narodnaia rez’ba i rospis’ po derevu. Moscow, 1956. Pages 121–36.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.