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Pavlovsky Posad shawls

L he fashion to wear figured woolen shawls came to Russia in the beginning of the 19 century. During hundred years they have become popular with different strata of the Russian society from aristocracy to peasantry. Shawls served as a smart supplement to a female costume, as a decoration to secular and church interiors, they were used as fabrics for sewing clothes from and even as vestments for priests. Shawls were especially valued by common people, they took care of them, the shawls were among family treasures handed down from parents to children or they were donated to a church "to be used as garments for the altar, credence table and lectern".

K.Makovsky.  "Portrait of the young girl in the russian traditional costume" border=

K.Makovsky.  "Portrait of the young girl in the
russian traditional costume". 1910

     By the middle of the 19th century, expensive woven shawls have been gradually ousted by shawls with printed patterns. Being light, warm and smart, they attracted attention not only by the beauty of designs, but also by comparatively low prices. Such shawls were manufactured by over a score of factories, situated mainly in Moscow and in Bogorodsky district(uyesd) of the Moscow region. One of them was the factory, belonging to Yacob Labzin and Vasiliy Griaznov in the town of Pavlovsky Possad. This factory had a special fortune in store: having occupied by the end of the 19th century a leading position, the factory is still working even today, and it is the only enterprise in Russia of such kind, and Pavlovsky shawl, having won popularity among the common people, acquired the meaning of a token.
      A big merchant's village Pavlovo was situated at the junction of the rivers Vokhna and Kliazma. The growth of commerce and industry was facilitated by weekly markets and fairs held in the village. Merchants from different towns used to bring to the fairs raw silk among other goods and used to buy "silk kerchiefs made here by different weavers, dyed homespun linen and foodstuffs".
      In 1797, in Pavlovo, there were 15 silk-weaving mills. Among them, there was a weaving mill owned by Ivan Labzin which employed 12 volunteer workers who manufactured silk kerchiefs "of middle hand" (moderate skill), "of poor quality". By 1812 Ivan Labzin inherited be distributed among the village weavers who worked using their home looms. The weaving trade by this time embraced the population of the entire district and even the nearest districts of the neighboring regions. In the village Pavlovo proper, the main part of the male population was engaged in weaving, the women were engaged in unwinding silk.

N.Miloshevich   "At the pond"

N.Miloshevich. "At the pond". 1997

     In the end of 1840s, after the death Ivan Labzin, management of the textile mill and commerce affairs were taken over by the son of Ivan - Yakov, who together with Vasily Griaznov was fated to start production of the famous shawls. Already at the initial stage of cooperation, it became evident that it was necessary to adopt reorientation of the production, because the demand for silk fabrics and kerchiefs has been falling steadily due to the strong competition with machine made cotton prints. The market at that time turned out to be open mostly to light woolen fabrics and kerchiefs, and manufacture of them in Russia started to be actively mastered only in 1830-40s. Moscow and the Moscow region has again become the centre of production of worsted fabrics and fabrics of mixture of wool and cotton.
     In 1860, the associates have built a cotton prints factory on the river Kliazma that, in fact, was a printing department of the enterprise. Next year, among the workers and employees of the factory there were 2 colourists, 3 artists, operators of printing machines, printers, cutters, which indicates that by this time they mastered the full cycle of cotton prints production, starting from the development of designs and manufacturing printing boards (stencils) and ending with printing patterns on the fabric All known Pavlovsky shawls of that time are made of fabrics of mixture with cotton warp and a woolen weft. Their colour compositions are close to one another: their designs more often than not are composed of few colours and their coloration has ochreous-red colour spectrum. Soft, toned down shades of natural dyestuffs make the colour spectrum integrated and harmonic.
     Their general artistic solution is close to that of the leading Moscow wool-printing textile mills. In the kerchiefs, there consolidated itself a traditional for Russian kerchiefs square form with symmetric compositions of designs, with obligatory division of the field of the kerchief into the fringe and the central part and an accent made on the corners in which there are placed larger and more complex ornamental forms. In the decor, there is markedly outlined predilection for ornamental motifs of the living nature and for the Orient, which is characteristic for the Russian art of the 19th century, the time of historicism. A certain influence of the fashion is reflected in the introduction to the patterns of shawls of the designs that are characteristic for styles of the preceding epochs, first of all, iridescent interweaving with one another scalloped bands, various quirks and flower garlands.

I.Kulikov. "The sisters "

I.Kulikov. "The sisters". 1927

      The artist's role in creating kerchiefs is great: on their talent, ability to grasp fashionable trends, and also on their understanding the taste and requirements of consumers did depend the beauty of kerchiefs and demand for them on the market. Therefore, despite the fact that it was possible to buy kerchiefs designs from "elsewhere", which was often the case; at any relatively large textile mill they preferred to have artists' studios.
      In the end of 1870s, they developed designs for shawls of three types. At that time, they continued to produce kerchiefs with Oriental or 'Turkish" ornament. Due to a wide spread of such kerchiefs, the second type of Pavlovsky Posad shawls that finally settled itself in 1880s can conditionally be determined as "a democratic" one. Such kerchiefs as well as the majority of shawls with the "Turkish" designs are characteristic of almost complete filling of the fabric with ornament, when the only remaining free space is a small star central part and a narrow band along the fringe. Their designs consisted of flowery bunches that filled geometrical figures of various form or medallions, formed by ornamented bands, scalloped bands or garlands of small flowers. Roses dominated among flowers and were treated with effect of a third dimension, though somewhat schematically.
      Among the employees of the enterprise, colorists had a special place. Usually, at the Labzin - Griaznov's enterprise there worked not more than two of such masters. In the 19th century, their task was only preparation of dyes. The composition of dyestuffs was kept a secret, recipes were the colourists' property. And even the room, in which he worked, was called the "secret" room. During several decades, Nikolay Andreyev has been colorist of the factory without any one, who could replace him. He was born in a peasant family in the Volokolamsk district of the Moscow region, He was invited to Pavlovsky Posad in the end of 1850s being quite a young man and already in 1869 he received status of Hereditary Honourary Citizen. Having worked all his life at the enterprise, Nikolay Andreyev became the founder of a whole dynasty. To a considerable degree thanks to his knowledge and talent, the distinctive features of Pavlovsky Posad shawls became richness of colour spectrum, cleanliness, brightness and at the same time fastness of dyes.


F.Sichkov. "The girlfriends". 1937

      The colour spectrum was built on the basis of a combination of few bright colours. Usually, such kerchiefs were printed in seven-nine colours. At this, polychromy was achieved by introducing several shades of pink, green, blue. The leading colour was red. Its different shades could be found not only in flowers - it was by all means used for printing also the background of the figures, at this; the central part and the edge could be printed with some other dye. Starting from the second half of 1880s, it became characteristic that in printing they used flowers of bright pink fuchsine. There are documentary evidences preserved that at this time at the factory they used aniline dyestuffs. Due to their introduction, the colours of printing became brighter and saturated, though some colour spectrum sharpness, which is characteristic of aniline, has not yet displayed itself in them. These kerchiefs were very popular among peasants, and therefore their designs, being less of all others under the influence of fashion, were extremely stable, sometimes they have been printed during decades in succession.
     Popularity of the designs of the shawls of 1884 is reflected in the fact that these designs are still being printed even hitherto. In due course, the name "Pattern" has stuck to the shawls with these designs. The stable legend at the factory gives the author's name as - Nil Postigov. The authorship of no less famous shawl "Horseshoe" is also ascribed to him. The design of the latter for more than a century has also been living in articles of the textile mill. The point is this, that Nil Postigov was a representative of the whole dynasty of designers. He finished working at the enterprise in 1930s, later than the other family members, probably, therefore many of the legends of the enterprise related to this family name are identified with him.
     Closeness to common people's perception of the world was reflected in clear, rhythmic, richly ornamented compositions of the shawls designed by Postigov, in colour spectrum predilection when the red colour, that common people liked, dominated in the kerchiefs; by the way, the word "red" in Russian mean "beautiful". But most important was the fact that what appealed to consumers was the flowery motif theme in the kerchief figures. It turned out to be closer and easy to understand by everybody, as blooming plants by different peoples and in different religions have always been associated with paradise and eternal happiness.


     Nil Postigov's talent made it possible for him to create different by character designs of kerchiefs. His croquis described before gives an idea on the third type of Pavlovsky Posad shawls that distinctly can be noticed among the kerchiefs made in 1880s. The shawls of this type, probably, had another, more "elite" trend. Usually they were made of fine woolen fabric with woven silk bands, more seldom without them. These shawls likewise kerchiefs of "the democratic" type were decorated mainly with flowery ornament that were printed not only on red, but also on black and on various colours backgrounds. Composition of the designs was build in another way: in such kerchiefs, as a rule, the central parts were large, filled with small flowers, and along the fringe there were situated free figures consisting of relief flowers collected into bunches of flowers and garlands.
      Among the flowery motifs, there predominated images of the very popular garden flowers: roses, dahlias, lilies, chrysanthemums, tulips. Their variations were numerous and they were connected into a huge number of combinations, adding small flowers, leaves, buts, and sprays. In the second half of the 19th century, in different types of applied arts preference was given to depicting flowers. They prevailed in embroidery, lace, fabrics. With bunches of flowers, in naturalistic treatment they decorated porcelain, trays from Zhostovo, they began to use them widely in painting of interiors. This was stipulated by the romantic idea of a bond between man and living nature, which was characteristic of the whole epoch of historicism.
     In general, 1880s can be characterized as a time of forming the style of Pavlovsky kerchiefs and at the same time as a period of prosperity of the kerchief enterprise. Articles of the factory have had invariable success. In 1882, the firm was again marked by a silver medal of All-Russia Art and Industries Exhibition, in 1889 - by bronze medal of World Industrial Exhibition in Paris. In 1881, Yakov Labzin received the title of Supplier of "Sovereign Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna with the right to have on his sign-board monogram image of Name of Her Imperial Majesty".
     On the newly developed designs, in accordance with the art trend of those years there appeared depictions of tulips and lilies on long stems. Flowery ornamental motifs became larger, and the figures themselves became less dense: fragments of plain, not ornamented fabric became larger, but all this has not introduced principle changes to general artistic solution of such kerchiefs.The orientation of Labzins - Griaznov's textile factory to a broad, first of all, peasant market made it possible not simply to survive, but also by constant development and expansion of the production to occupy the leading role among similar enterprises of Russia. And only the World War I and later the Revolution of October 1917 have temporally slowed down this development. The next stage in the history of Pavlovsky shawls coincided with the Soviet power time.      During the first years after October 1917 Revolution, due to shortage of fuel, lack of raw materials and dyestuffs, many enterprises of the textile industry have not worked Staropavlovskaya Weaving Mill for some time has used old stocks of raw materials, but in the beginning of 1920s it had to temporally stop the production and fire the workers. In 1921, it started to produce fabrics again, but till the end of 1930s cotton articles have remained the main type of product of the weaving mill.


     Every year, the production of woolen kerchiefs increased. Starting from 1939, the kerchief enterprise resumed production of kerchiefs made of fabrics of mixture with printing of tones, at this, the colour did not have a rigid contour, but was changing continually from one tone to another tone. The tone printing has been known in Pavlovsky Posad already since 1880s, but they, probably produced very little kerchiefs decorated in such a way, and in different collections, such articles can be found only as single units.
     The development of design followed two directions. The first one can be characterized as traditional. Here refer designs with flowery and "Oriental" ornamentation. The second direction was a thematic one that appeared in the ornamentation of printed fabrics at the end of 1920s. At this time, practically at every factory they were making attempts to reconstruct the textile design in accordance with the requests of the time. Textile has to become a "mouthpiece of propaganda and agitation" and the designs on fabrics - to reflect all important problems of building the new society. The experiments in the field of renewal of the design touched upon mainly cotton printing, but they have also had their impact on the production of the Pavlovsky Posad kerchief enterprise.
     In 1950s, there were widely spread compositions that were mainly based on ornate or floral motifs, figures often filled all the surface, and at this, there was preserved classical subdivision into a fringe and a central part. The designs were noted for decorative saturation, a more dense arrangement of the ornate design In some works, there was additionally developed a ground-colour of articles, the main design was as if laid on to the ground-colour design. Silhouette and contour images have also been widely used. In the years that followed, at the factory there have been working artists who had received a special training, but all the secrets of the trade, all subtleties and nuances of the kerchief design they mastered already directly at the enterprise learning from the elder masters in the artists' studio in contact with one another.
     By the end of 1960s, the interest to people's art revived and as a result - the demand for articles of folk craft has grown enormously. In this connection, the majority of centres of traditional folk art had to master new technologies to be able to increase the production. At the Pavlovsky Posad enterprise, they started to print many types of kerchiefs with the help of a new method - manual-printing using a stencil. The first two tables for printing with the help of manual transfer of the stencils were installed in 1958 for cream-coloured printed kerchiefs, size 150 x 150 cm.


     Since the end of 1990s, due to accumulated experience, the technology of the stencil printing method was considerably improved, and the enterprise started to produce shawls and kerchiefs in 23 colours. At this, the technological modernization made it possible to obtain a finer delicate contour on the fabric, to align separate elements of the design accurately enough. Edges of the articles were trimmed with silk or woolen fringe with a net consisting of many rows that, like 150 years before, was woven manually. This weaving of the net is carried out by women weavers, who work at home in Pavlovsky Posad and in the surrounding villages.
     Now, the Pavlovsky Posad Kerchief Manufacture produces about 200 types of shawls, kerchiefs, made of natural fibers: mainly from fine high quality wool, as well as from cotton. In 2000, there were produced first batches of silk kerchiefs decorated with printed designs. Tracing the evolution of Pavlovsky kerchief, it is important to stress that, today, like it was before, this art is closely bound with artistic processes going on in the Russian culture, it constantly experiences some influence of the world fashion, takes into consideration modem tendencies in the development of the textiles, but at this, it follows the traditions and preserves expressly displayed national originality.Pavlovsky Posad kerchief has long ago become not just an article of clothing, but also a certain symbol of the Russian women, a decorative work of art expressing the Russian people's taste.

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F.Sichkov.   "Girl with red shawl"  1931


I.Kulikov.  "Maedow flowers".  1915

 I.Kulikov. "Girl with tuesok"<

I.Kulikov.  "Girl with tuesok".  1912

B.Kustodiev. "Merchant's wife"

B.Kustodiev. "Merchant's wife".  1918

B.Kustodiev. "The kiss"

B.Kustodiev.  "The kiss".  1920

F.Sichkov  "The sunflowers"

F.Sichkov.  "The sunflowers". 1934

E.Balaschin. "Once a maiden was walking for water"

E.Balahshin.  "Once a maiden was walking for water".  1999

E.Balahshin. "Fille avec le châle bleu"

E.Balahshin.  "Girl witn blue shawl".  1996

I.Brodsky. "Portrait of the artist's wife"

I.Brodsky.  "Portrait of the artist's wife".  1913

N.Miloshevich. "The shawl"

N.Miloshevich.  "The shawl".  1996