The moral regulations for Russian households (Domostroi) were written by a Novgorod monk called Sylvester in the sixteenth century. These rules condemned Russian women to a life spent in solitude and, before the reforms of Peter the Great, prominent people did not show their wives or daughters to strangers. It required the closest of relations with the householder before he could be induced to open the door to the female terem. In honour of this occasion, the rite of kissing was performed. The mistress of the house would appear in festive attire, holding a goblet of wine. She took a sip of the wine, bowed and then offered the wine to the guest. The man of the house would also bow and invite the guest to kiss his wife. The rite was completed with the presentation of costly shawls. Play and Passion in Russian Fine Art. St-Petersburg. 1999. P. 118.
This canvas belongs to the artist's so - called Boyar cycle in which Makovsky recreates the Russia of the seventeenth century with its feasts and weddings. The picture is a portrayal of the beauty and splendour of old Russia. Play and Passion in Russian Fine Art. St-Petersburg. 1999. P. 118.