"The Bear". A Sculpture

Skopin, The Ryazan Region. 1994

In the last third of the 19th century, the town of Skopin of the Ryazan province was singled out among the numerous local pottery centres. Here the figured and sculptured vessels were made along with the ordinary household utensils. Complex forms were made by parts and then connected. There are disc-shaped kvassniks (a vessel for kvass) and kumgans (jugs for water with a narrow neck, a spout, handle and a lid), vessels in the form of a bear, Polkan, fish, a lion, a two-headed eagle, a hen and cock, parrots, even a monkey, and the bird Skopa, which gave the name to the city.

Plastic forms were decorated with incisions and dies on raw clay, supplementing the fairy-tale images with real signs - plumage of birds, wool of animals. The wool was imitated by passing liquid clay through a sieve. The bright glaze used in a mixture of different colours in the form of spots and stains, which became a sign of local decor, gave peculiar beauty to the Skopino ceramics.

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