possibly obscure Russian question...
- Does anyone know anything about the Skomorokhi?
I still putter around with my masking research and the Novgorod Mueseum
has these fabulous examples of leather masks that are labeled as being
used by the skomorkhi. The only problem is that I have no context for
their use (plays? specific characters? just whatever "spoke" to the
performer?). I'd also like to have a stronger idea of how they were
painted, since most of the examples have decayed too much to see those
Are there manuscripts floating around with skomorokhi puttering around in
the margins or maybe a description of what they did or if the masks
pertain to specific characters or anything like that? Does anyone have a
copy of the archeaological paper(s) they might be mentioned in?
Anything would help.
(it doesn't have the best pictures - the best I've found thus actually
come from stateside visitors bringing back their own photos).
- U're right. The Bear Academy was located in the present-day Belarus in the town of SMORGON not far from Vilnius. It was one of the sponsored activities of the Radziwill family's.
----- Original Message -----
From: S. Butler
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2008 9:01 AM
Subject: [sig] Re: possibly obscure Russian question...
I'm separated from my books, but I remember that Poland had a long
history of training performing bears. I think one of the more standard
books even mentioned a bear-training academy.
If bears are portrayed as slow, clumsy, and/or stupid in folklore, it is
either by people who didn't know bears very well, or just a playful
literary license (in the same way we portray bears as cuddly 'Teddy
Bears' or lions in 'The Lion King.') Bears are very intelligent (ask
any park ranger out west), and can move _very_ quickly over short
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