Monday, October 21, 2013

A Rare and Beautiful Russian Shawl by Zlata Olshevskaya

Now and then I stumble upon a vintage Russian shawl while looking for something else. I usually just sell them through our Etsy store without trying to identify the artist. However, I recently decided to try attributing vintage shawls and found a wonderful resource - a big forum at the website of the Pavlovo Posad Manufactory (the most famous Russian shawl factory founded in 1795 as a small silk factory). A lot can be said about the factory, as well as the role of a Russian shawl in a woman's life, but today I just want to show a rare shawl we found yesterday. The shawl experts (or addicts - what a beautiful addiction!) from the forum helped me identify this beauty.

The shawl was designed in 1980 by Zlata Olshevskaya, one of the most interesting artists of Pavlovskiy Posad. It it called 'Boyarishnya' ('Young Boyar Lady' or 'A High Born Girl'). Just look at these brilliant colors and clean lines: a high class Russian shawl cannot be mistaken for anything else. There are lavish pink roses that seem to glow; elegant tulips and smaller flower accents with lovely twigs and branches, and everything is in perfect balance.

The shawl is large, 150x150 cm (60x60 inches). As it is made from wool, it is soft and light, and can protect really well both from cold and from immodest eyes. Of course you can hardly hope to be unnoticed when you wear a piece of art like this...

Zlata Olshevskaya designed a number of beautiful shawls and all of those are eagerly sought by collectors now.  My shawl is not the most rare one of her works, but we were very glad to discover it, anyway. And it will go to my friend in the US, to be loved and proudly worn.

Zlata Olshevskaya was born on 20th October 1920. The photo below is from 1949; Zlata is on the right.

This photo of Zlata was taken much later, but she is still beautiful. Or even more beautiful.

Zlata Olshevskaya lived a long life - 90 years - and left a wonderful heritage of warmth and beauty. I hope to be able to see more of her works in real life, and to be able to touch something she might have touched many years ago while moving along the factory and looking at ready shawls.


  1. Such a great post. I've seen so many of Pavlovo Posad's shawls and never thought of story behind them. Lovely work and wonderful find!

    1. Thank you! I like this shawl so much - thought of keeping it, but it does not make me look better... pity.


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