This interesting Palekh composition has been painted by Nina Suloeva.It shows how the Russians celebrate an ancient pagan feast, which is called the Ivan Kupala Day.
This feast coincides with the St. John Baptist's Day in people's thinking because of the fact that the basis of both these feasts is ablution. That is why the Russians started naming their ancient pagan feast as the St. John Baptist's day, keeping its all pagan customs and beliefs. The feast of Ivan Kupala Day is celebrated on the 7th of June, in the period of summer solstice. Kupalo is the pagan God of Fertility. In ancient times, during the feast of Ivan Kupala, the Russians made a sacrifice to this God by throwing herbs into the bonfire. May be because of this ancient custom people often jumped over the bonfire during this feast. Another common ritual of this feast is ablution. It was believed that swimming in the river or jumping over the bonfire during this feast is very good for a man's health, and by fulfilling this ritual a man will be healthy the whole future year long. It was also considered that herbs also acquired "healing properties" that day, that is why then people often gathered different herbs for a future use. During the feast of Ivan Kupala people also sang amorous songs, sang and danced in a ring; girls threw garlands of flowers on the water to find out who their future husband will be.(Some of these activities we can see on this composition!). It was said that evil forces grow stronger that day, the main legend connected with it is that only on the day of Ivan Kupala one can find the flower of fern that will help him to find treasures.
The drawing is colorful and filled with intricate details. Bright red, orange, yellow, and blue color patches seem to be brighter against the black background. The detail is added with gold and silver paint.
The box is constructed from paper-mache. Black lacquer is used to paint the exterior of the box while red lacquer completes the interior. The exterior is decorated with very intricate pattern of gold and silver paint. The box has a hinge above the composition and rests on wavy platform. The work is signed with the artist's name, the year of 2013, and the village of Palekh.