Cotton and Papier-mache Ornaments

The history of Russian spun cotton ornaments started in the 1900s, when some private manufacturers began producing this type of Christmas decorations. The idea was taken from German early pressed cotton ornaments that were imported into Russia. However, there was no real mass production of the spun cotton ornaments in Russia. Since 1923-24 to 1936 Xmas decorations were not produced in Soviet communist Russia. The first Soviet pressed cotton ornaments were regularly made in Soviet Union from 1937. Russian people liked to decorate their New Year trees with painted paper mache and cotton vegetables and fruits. Very popular versions were also of spun cotton people, birds and animals. The faces of the cotton people were made of paper mache and/or clay. Most of the Soviet ones are covered in the slimmest coat of mica, this gives a lustre to the ornaments. Another name folk gave to these items was “Sugar Ornaments”. Children also used these cotton ornaments in their daily play, not just at holidays or New Years Day. Soviet spun cotton ornaments were produced until the 1960s, and they were all still fully made by hand, but were not produced in large quantities. It is difficult to find these antique cotton items in good condition today.

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