The Kingdom of the night: The image of night in the Russian folk culture
The Russian museum of Ethnography presents the image of night in the Russian folk culture
Since time immemorial night, the time for sleep and rest after daily works and concerns is considered holy and sacred time, exceptionally mysterious, awe-inspiring and even potentially dangerous. These notions were based on complex fusion of pre-Christian beliefs, medieval scientific knowledge and Christian teaching about the world order. In XIX-first quarter of XX century they remained mainly among the inhabitants of villages and provincial towns.
The exhibition reveals both aspects of night’s perception in the Russian folk culture. On the one hand it shows objects, photographs, drawings telling about the night as the time for sleep and rest and on the other hand the exhibition illustrates the notions of Russian peasants about sacredness of the night.
The exhibition presents rooms for winter and summer sleep and furniture for bedtime: benches, polati (the planking between the stove and the opposite walls), beds, cradles, bed clothing and wash utensils for morning and evening ablutions.
The image of mysterious night when according to popular beliefs the other forces both benevolently and menacingly inclined to people (angels, “parents” – the dead ancestors and evil spirits) started to act is shown on the exhibition through large photographical panel composed of XIX century popular prints lubki, modern photographs and lithographs by the artist B.P. Zabirokhin and scenes: “Dread devil maskies”, “Food offering for “parents” - the dead ancestors”, “Weeding night”.
All exhibits are authentic and from the collection of the Russian museum of Ethnography