Into the Dustbin of History!*

by chuckofish

I recently posted about a necklace that I inherited from my grandmother. Today I’m going to write about another object she left me — a modest wooden trinket box that has always particularly intrigued me.

Until recently all my efforts to determine its origins have failed, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. I believe that it was made by White Russian émigrés to Europe after the Bolshevik Revolution. It certainly compares better to Russian trinket boxes than anything else I’ve seen. Note the overall folk-art style, the simple subject matter,

the snow and incised detail,

and the turned-away figures.

Between time spent in Paris, Italy, and London in the 1920s, our grandmother would have had plenty of opportunity to acquire such a box. The wonder is that she kept it all those years, that my father held on to it, and that it has survived in my boisterous house. Wouldn’t you love to know the story behind it? Was the concierge of their Paris flat a White Russian who made these on the side and gave it to her? Did she just pick it up from a street vendor somewhere? Well, its story may be lost in “the dustbin of history”, but the little object (of negligible monetary value) remains one of my favorite treasures, and I hope that one day I will pass it along to one of my sons.

I think it’s time to re-watch Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman in “Anastasia”, don’t you?

*“You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on – into the dustbin of history!”  Leon Trotsky (Ha! Little did he know. Leon Trotsky had to flee his own communist regime only to get murdered in Mexico City).