Friday, 24 July 2009

Lubki: Russian Popular or Folk Prints

I found an interesting exploration of Russian popular prints,
called Lubki (Singular:Lubok), with translations of their texts, by Alexander Boguslawski.

The first image depicts a scene from Firdawsi's poem Shah-nameh, a Persian work, in which the hero Rustam, turns into a lion (araslan).

One of my favourites, The Bull that Did Not Want to Be a Bull and Became a Butcher
(below), invites us to ponder

"what the world would look like if things were opposite to what they really are.
In the middle of the print, which in its form resembles a hagiographical icon, unfolds the story of
a bull who took bloody revenge on the butcher.
Around the central image, thirteen smaller pictures with rhymed short inscriptions
illustrate the impossible reversals:

A sheep is shearing a shepherd,
a peasant changes places with his judges,
a donkey hits a heavily burdened peasant because he is going too slowly,
children put an old man to bed and amuse him so he does not cry,
a student beats the teacher who does not learn fast enough,
a blind man leads the one who can see, a man is wearing
hats on his feet and a shoe on his head, a stag runs away from a pig
and a hunter from a hare, a parrot puts a man in a cage to make him speak,
a donkey rides in a carriage drawn by women, a beggar gives alms to a rich man,
a nobleman spins yarn while his wife is on guard duty; in the last picture
a donkey is shaving a man and accidentally kicks him on the head."

(Copyright Alexander Boguslawski*, 1999)

*I really hope that's a genuine name :-)

...All of which reminds me of the bespectacled hunting rabbit in Struwwelpeter :

More Lubki here:

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