Abashevo settlement of Penzenskaya oblast is an ancient Russian village with deep historical, religious and art roots.
It was first mentioned in books dated back to 1616, which were written by scriveners who lived in Shatsky uyezd. This village was inhabited by barins, so well-known people owned it, among them Ivan Pyzhov and prince Golitsyn.
Namely pot and pipe makers made Abashevo settlement famous. More than half of the inhabitants made various kinds of utensils from kaolin and modeled penny whistles. In the 19th and 20th centuries Abashevo was the leading Russian centre of ceramics. Toys made of clay were exhibited in Moscow, London and Paris. They have traditional patterns: pets, birds, deer, horsemen, landowner's wives are portrayed from generation to generation, every craftsman puts his heart into these images, therefore there appear unique vivid personificated ones. 162 manufactures were engaged in it.
The secrets of modelling and baking were kept from generation to generation, from fathers to their sons. Children were taught this craft at the age of 8. Thus there were the whole dynasties of potters and pipe makers.
In the old days things made of clay were baked in furnaces, facilities of round or oval shape bricked with 1,5 m wide and 2 m high fire-bricks. Foreman had to get into a furnace, and his wife gave him jugs and pots top-down. The top of products was faced with 'kalanchiks', peaces of broken utensils. Earthenware was burnt with birch or oak firewood. After it had been burnt it was traditional to bake potatoes.
Curative clay used for modeling of Abashevo toys, and kindness of a foreman relieve feelings and protect families from evil spirit.
All penny whistles are made individually for protective purpose.
Every Abashevo penny whistle has its certificate with the date it was manufactured signed by a foreman!
It is made of thick calendered cardboard, all inscriptions being made in silver paint.
Wonderful Abashevo toys do not leave anyone indifferent, no matter whether it's a laboratory visitor or a local inhabitant. Besides there are a lot of poems about Abashevo village in Russia.
'Alan' company, representative of Abashevo folk art.
22 Bogdanov St., Penza, Penzenskaya oblast, Russia
Kalashnikov Andrey Viktorovich