Eagle Sunday

accessed from www.metmuseum.org. See caption information at the end of this post*.

A Sunday Eagle from nineteenth century Russia - this is an embroidered headdress featuring imperial eagles. According to the Met Museum, it was collected by a Russian noblewoman Natalia de Shabelsky, who roamed Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, collecting samples of folk/textile art. She seems like an interesting lady, and maybe one day I will find out more about her.

This week's eagle is from Russia, because apart from a brief digression into Ancient Egypt last week, for the last couple of weeks I've been in 1930s Russia with The Master and Margarita by Mikail Bulgakov.

Written in Stalinist Russia, it's tells the story of the strange events following the Devil's appearance in Moscow, and fate of the 'Master' - who has written a book about Pontius Pilate and now finds himself in a madhouse. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know what will happen, but so far it's marvellous - funny, outrageous, terrifying and sad.

And also a miniseries! Made in Russia in 2005, I have seen the first episode, which is .. um ... wow. You can see excerpts from the whole series on YouTube, here. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'd like to watch the rest and see what it's like.




*Caption information - Object name: Headdress, Date: 19th century, Culture: Russian, Medium: silk, metal, linen, Dimensions: 10 x 7 1/2 in. (25.4 x 19.1cm), Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs Edward S. Harkness in memory of her mother, Elizabeth Greenman Stillman, 1931, Accession Number: 2009.300.2702. Description: This object is from the collection of Natalia de Shabelsky (1841 - 1905), a Russian noblewoman compelled to preserve what she perceived as the vanishing folk art traditions of her native country. Traveling extensively throughout Great Russia, she collected many fine examples of textile art of the wealthy peasant class. From the 1870s until moving to France in 1902, Shabelsky amassed a large collection of intricately embroidered hand-woven household textiles and opulent festival garments with rich decoration and elaborate motifs. The Brooklyn Museum holdings include many fine examples including the majority of the garments. Portions of Shabelsky's collection are also housed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg. The embroidery in this headdress back is quite different from the rest of the Shabelsky collection in its highly stylized depiction of the double-headed imperial eagle. The predominantly satin stitch embroidery creates a smooth and very reflective surface which gives the appearance of solid gold. Despite the abundance of gold, the motif seems restrained, reflecting the maker's refined sensibilities.