Rainbow on the Floor

The exhibition “Rainbow on the Floor” was opened in the Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve at the beginning of the new tourist season. It presented over 80 doormats and six woven tapestries made by talented folk craftsmen. All of them belong to the Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve. This collection was formed during the second half of the 20th century. First articles were bought in 1957. Starting from the middle of the 1960s, the collection was regularly replenished with new items. Its main part was bought during museum expeditions in the 1970-1980s. 156 doormats and 8 tapestries are kept in the museum at present. The collection includes mats made by masters of Kirillov, Belozersk, Vozhega, Tarnoga, Vashki, Cherepovets, Kaduy, Vologda, Babushkino and Archangelsk.

As it is known, long woven doormats were made by peasant weavers already in the 19th century. Vegetable-dyed hemp, scraps of old ropes, lime tree bast were used in them as weft. Linen rags of shabby and faded clothes were also applied. They were cut in narrow strips and twisted with the help of a spindle. Colours of old doormats were sombre. They had a thick-and-thin pattern. In the 20th century with the development of textile manufacture, they got a chance to use brighter and more festive calico, sateen and staple pieces to make doormats. It predetermined appearance of the multi-coloured rainbow on the floor of village and town dwellings.

In the 1970-1980s, folk masters began to create more complicated patters along with simple doormats with clear alteration of thick and thin multi-coloured strips. There were rhombuses of contrast colours, peas, and zigzag ornaments on the wide strips of the doormats. Some craftsmen created such works which could be hardly named doormats. For instance, Evdokiya Vasilievna Panova wove real pictures supplementing them with embroidery and application. Her works are kept in many museums of the country. The Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve had two oeuvres of Evdokiya Panova. One of the – “The Church” – was displayed at the exhibition. Creative work of Evdokiya Panova was continued with articles of the Kirillov’s women. In particular, woven tapestries of Lyudmila Alexandrovna Cherepanova and Margarita Afanasievna Alexeeva were presented there.

People brightened up and decorated the interior with doormats up to the 1980s. And only when polished furniture of the same type began to appear in the houses, doormats were put on the shelf. But this kind of folk art wasn’t lost. The most well-known and talented craftsmen wove doormats at the commission of museums, exhibition halls, collectors, connoisseurs and amateurs of folk art. Now this folk craft is revived. Hundreds of Vologda’s residents learn to weave, make doormats and thematic tapestries in studios, creative associations, and numerous district “Houses of Crafts”. A loom can be seen in many village houses. Having silently kept secrets of mastery, it wakes in the hands of our contemporaries. Unique oeuvres are created thanks to their talent and fantasy. Modern doormats are both copies of traditional ones and various author’s versions on the level of form, material and technique. The doormat has returned to our house again as a beautiful and stylish article which creates comfort and warmth – the article which is a symbol of our cultural tradition.

The works of the collection were exhibited in the museum several times. Over a hundred oeuvres were presented at the exhibition “Rainbow on the Floor” which was housed in the conference-hall in 2007. But it was open within only ten days because of some technical reasons. Only in 2009, we got a chance to open it again in two halls of the Cook-house.

A presentation of the exhibition “Rainbow on the Floor” was held within the framework of the celebrations of the Day of the Town on June 20, 2009, at 15:00.

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