Zhostovo trays with colourful floral arrangements are a well-known tradition of Russian art. They are so beautiful that it is often believed that these trays were created specifically for decoration purposes. However, at the time when they were first created, in the 19th century, they served a utilitarian function, too: samovars were placed on the trays, and dishes were brought to the table to diners. Later, some restaurants started to use these beautiful trays to decorate the walls. So it is rather difficult to draw a line between the trays’ functionality and their decorativeness.
Typically, the trays have a black background and gold, hand painted borders. The painting depicts bright compositions of flowers, fruit, or berries.
For a while, due to the revolution and World War II, this craft almost ceased to exist. However, thanks to the Handicraft Museum of the Moscow Provincial Zemstvo, the Zhostovo trays have experienced a rebirth. Early in the 20th century, famous artists including Natalia Goncharova, and Pyotr Konchalovsky among others were invited to paint on the trays.
However, as time went on, the technology of creating Zhostovo trays remained the same. The painting of each tray is done by hand – a technique referred to as “hand brush painting”.
Nowadays, Zhostovo Trays are a true staple of Russian folk crafts. They can be seen in homes, in museums – and also in private collections. In our shop, you can find excellent examples of the famous Russian craft – and hopefully make great use of both its functionality and amazing beauty!