Rybakov Alexander is the talented Kholuy master responsible for the delightful assembly of color and design before you. Delicious detail, stunning decoration and a rather sublime palette make this composition quality in the highest degree. Here the artist has chosen to depict several scenes from the legendary tale "Finist the Falcon".
In the central scene the artist depicts the beginning of the story: while the maiden, Marya, sleeps in her bed her fiancé, Finist the Falcon, flies out of the room. Finist the Falcon is the handsome prince who possesses the power of turning into the falcon. Once the maiden's father went to the fair and asked his daughters what present would they like to get. Marya's sisters ordered fashionable attire, while she wanted only the feather of Finist the Falcon. When the father brought this feather to Marya her sisters laughed at her. They didn't know that it was magic. Every evening Marya threw the feather on the floor and the handsome lad appeared before her. The lad spent a night with the maiden. In the morning he turned into the falcon and flew away through the window.
Painting the following scenes the artist continues to unfold the tale's plot. Marya's sisters learnt the secret of the magic feather and decided to destroy her happiness. They attached sharp knifes to her window. Finist the Falcon injured his wings and flew away saying the following words: "You'll find me if you want". Marya was very pained by his words and cried for a long time. Then she decided to find her fiancé. She strolled in the fields and forests till she got to the Baba-Yaga's Hut (this episode is depicted in the left part of the composition). Baba-Yaga told Marya that the Princess of the nearest kingdom dulled Finist the Falcon's mind and he married her. Then Baba-Yaga and her two sisters gave three magic things to Marya (a golden saucer with a silver apple; a silver lace-frame with a golden needle; and a golden spindle) to help her to return her fiancé. The scene painted in the right part of the composition shows how she managed to realize it. Marya offered these three magic things to the Princess (she is depicted leaning out of the palace's window) asking her to let see Finist the Falcon. The Princess agreed and Marya came into her fiancé's room. She found him sleeping like a log and tried to awake him. Only when she began crying bitterly Finist the Falcon awoke. He recognized his fiancee, kissed and embraced her tenderly. Since that time this couple never parted. To the right of the central composition the artist paints the reunion of Marya and Finist the Falcon.
The artist uses a wide range of colors from his palette, which makes this piece come to life. Gold paint is used to highlight the scene, but is limned on in such a manner that it provides the palette with extra flair.
Everything is detailed with the utmost precision. Each character appears as an individual, there is variation in the faces and moods of the people from left to right. The landscape is also amazingly detailed.
The box is constructed from paper-mache. Black lacquer is used to paint the exterior of the piece while radiant red lacquer completes the interior of the work. A hinge has been fastened to the top of the composition. The lid's composition has been framed with a thin string of golden beads that reflects nicely in the golden contours within the composition. Gold floral ornamentation, with aluminum accents, wraps around the sides of the box. The artist has written the title, Kholuy and his name at the exterior of base of the box.