In all times of mankind, from primitive tribes to the present day, he was accompanied by toys. Initially, these were primitive figures of gods, which people worshiped, but gradually they became a developing and entertaining attribute for children.
The Abashev toy is quite "young", this kind of folk craft is only 200 years old, but it has its own history and a specific "residence permit".
History of a clay toy
Pottery is rooted in antiquity, so it's impossible to know who first began to mold and burn figurines of people and animals from the remains of clay after molding utensils. The Abashev clay toy is named because of its "origin" from the village of the same name in the Spassky district of the Penza province.
In the village of Abashevo most households were engaged in the production of dishes, but in 12 farms they began to produce toys that were in demand.
Some masters relied on the traditions of antiquity, but there were also those that gave rise to completely new forms that were passed on to the family from generation to generation. Abashevskaya toy, whose history is directly related to the history of the village, was able to "survive" and preserve its identity to this day.
The village of Abashevo
Most of the population of the village adhered to the Old Believers. Avoiding communication with the Gentiles, the schismatics chose folk types of crafts, which can be confined to the community. They had enough strict rules that prescribed to avoid the infidels, both at the level of personal communication, and the attributes of everyday life.
Their religion was reflected in whistles, the "calling card" of which was an Abashev toy in the form of a deer with high horns, like a ladder to heaven. Most of the motives of clay trinkets were animal figurines, which from ancient times for the Slavs symbolized various aspects of life:
- A bird is luck, happiness;
- The horse symbolized the sun;
- Bear - power, power and power;
- Ram and cow - a symbol of fertility;
- Deer - abundance.
Abashevskaya toy (photo it reflects) was often performed by masters in the form of people characterizing the attitude of their author to the surrounding world. For example, ladies symbolized stupid urban girls in funny hats, and the attitude to the authorities was often carried out in the form of a policeman or a policeman. If they had birds in their hands, it meant that thieves were in power.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Abashevskaya toy became so popular that its exhibitions were held not only in Moscow, but also in London and Paris.
The distinctive features of the Abashev toy
A special form of toys from the village of Abashevo instantly distinguishes them from dozens of crafts made by masters from another locality. Elongated bodies and unreasonably long necks with a small head in animals were the embodiment of the world of the amazing master Larion Zotkin. At the beginning of the 20th century, the shape and color of the clay pipes from Abashevo were already fully formed.
Although all the "heroes" of the Abashev masters are quite recognizable, they have some fantastic features:
- Elongated disproportionately the bodies of animals stand steadily on short, widely spaced legs;
- Long thickened necks end in a small head;
- Carefully and deeply incised eyes;
- Heads of goats, deer, bulls and rams are decorated with large, often multi-tiered horns;
- Clear lines of bangs, manes and beards.
In its form, the Abashev toy is more like a rock painting, when ancient people were only learning to embody the world around them through a drawing. Horns of animals symbolize the tree of life, and their tails are a hole where you have to make a fuss, so that the toy begins to "talk". Masters from Abashev never sculpted scenes from life, did not attach their crafts movement. All of them are firmly "standing" on their feet, symbolizing strong roots with their mother-earth.
Due to the fact that this kind of folk craft was concentrated in one village, it laid the foundation for the birth of the dynasties of masters.
Dynasty of the Abashev Masters
The Zotkin dynasty, the most famous masters of clay toys, began with Akinfii Frolovich, born in 1883, and his brother Larion. Their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive today and continue the traditions of their great-grandfathers.
It was Larion Zotkin in the 20's and 30's who gave the "new" life to the Abashev toy. The village even organized a pottery cooperative. His work formed the basis of the works of his followers. Abashevskaya toy (photo shows it) has its own museum, but not only in its native village works of the Zotkin dynasty are exhibited. They are in the museums of Penza, Sergiev Posad and in private collections.
Among other famous family names of the dynasty are the Zuzenkovs, Malyshevs, Yeskins, Nagaevs and others. Each new generation brought its vision into the image of the Abashev toy.
Preparation of clay
Before thinking how to mold an Abashev toy, special attention should be given to preparing clay for work. In the 19th century, the extraction of the necessary clay species was often accompanied by a risk to life. It was prepared in winter with a reserve for many months.
Today, clay can be taken from a quarry or bought in a store. If the clay from the place of its extraction, without synthetic additives, it must first be dried. After that, the clay is ground, removing the impurities, and diluted with water in a ratio of 1/3.
It is important that the mass turned out without lumps. The diluted material should be left for a while, so that sand and other impurities settle on the bottom of the container.
Purified clay in this way should be slightly thickened to the level of the dumpling test, after which carefully stretch your hands, removing excess air. To check the readiness of the clay to work, it should be rolled out "sausage" and slowly bend into the horseshoe. If it does not crack, you can start modeling.
The sculpture of the Abashev toy
Today, one of the ways to develop hand motility, imagination and interest in folk crafts in children is training them to sculpt figures from plasticine and clay. Starting with the most simple and understandable kids "pancakes" and "sausages" of clay, you can show them how to sculpt an Abashev toy in stages:
- Clay is thoroughly kneaded with fingers to warm the material and give it elasticity.
- From a clod of clay roll "sausage" with a thickened, like a carrot end.
- In the thicker part of the workpiece, insert a wooden round bar to the middle of its size, which will allow the void space necessary for the whistle to remain inside the toy.
- The upper part of the clay billet over the bar bend - this will be the neck of the animal, from the end of which a small muzzle is sculpted.
- From the trunk to take out a bar, to mold out small thickened legs, and to pull out the "tail" in the form of a mouthpiece of a pipe.
- Make holes on the sides of the trunk so that the whistle whistles
You can cut out a stack not only the eyes, but also "wool", a bridle, various ornaments. Older children can mold their horns on their own, it's easier for kids to start with dogs and kitties that they are familiar with. Such a toy will be interesting not only for the child. Many adults begin to get involved in pottery, one of which is an Abashevskaya toy.
Roasting and painting
After the product has dried, it must be fired. Old masters used for this purpose special horns - round furnaces from refractory bricks. The standard size of these stoves was 1.5 m wide and 2 m high, and once in each Abashovo almost every courtyard was lit with hearths to make dishes or toys strong and durable.
To prevent the toys from bursting, they were encased with shards, and the stove was heated with oak or birch firewood. After firing the next stage, which was held Abashevskaya toy - coloring. She is characterized by a recognizable manner of painting - the finished product was covered with a solid layer of monochrome bright paint. Masters of the 19th century used glaze, but after the oil paints appeared, they switched to them.
Covered with a layer of oil paint, the figures dried up, after which small elements were painted and at the last stage they were varnished. With the advent of enamel, the need for varnishing has disappeared.
In modern pottery furnaces, the process goes faster and with greater safety for products, and using clay, bought in specialized stores, there is nothing easier than to understand how to make an Abashev toy with their own hands.
Museum in Abashevo
Efforts of enthusiasts and craftsmen who live in Abashevo today, in the former Zotkin's house, have a toy museum made of clay. In the collection there are products of masters of the 19th - early 20th century, and those who produced toys in the artel, and later in the factory.
Revival of the Abashev fishery
A specially created fund for the revival of the Abashev toy cares for the traditions of the old masters to continue to live. The Foundation encourages young people to show interest in this art form, for which a new faculty has been opened in the Spassky College - a "ceramics specialist".