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Slutsk belts. Revival

04/19/13 By: Department chair of design Kazarnovskaya G.V.  Source: «VGTU news» 

Due to the contribution of the Belarusian masters to history of the West European arts and crafts, their developed art taste and natural coloring, Slutsk belts with composite harmony and a peculiar refined ornamentation are one of the highest achievements of world art culture.

This product of the Belarusian manual weaving – is not only work of art, but also a relic of Belarusians, a peculiar card of the country. For us Slutsk belts are national pride, our brand.

This remarkable page was added to history of Belarus in the second half of XVIII – the first half of the XIX centuries when on a manufactory belonging to the Radzivil, production of belts of the finest work was arranged. Subsequently these belts received the name «Slutsk», on place of production. With the help of silk, silver and gold threads artists and handicraftsmen-weavers created original masterpieces.

The importance of Slutsk belts can't be considered out of the historical context. The similar products which have kept the name Slutsk, were made also in Nesvizh, Warsaw, Krakow and other cities. «Me fecit Slucicae» – «made in Slutsk» – such tag was put on each belt. At the end of the 18th century the small town in Belarus was among the recognized capitals of the European fashion exactly due to the belts. According to Slutsk technology, belts were made in Warsaw, other Polish cities and even in Leon, France. Moreover – though belts were weaved in many countries of the world, born in the Belarusian city of Slutsk, the real masterpieces of weaving served as a pattern for all other belts.

According to the Belarusian historian Adam Maldis, the Slutsk manufactory less than in hundred years of its existence made about five thousand belts, each of which was unique. Having stopped being a valuable part of a high class suit, belts were treated as works of art at the end of the XIX century.

It is known that in 1939 in the residence of the Radzivil in Nesvizh there were 32 belts, 16 of them were Slutsk ones. In the beginning of 1940 they were transferred to the State BSSR art gallery. At the beginning of war, before the German invasion in Minsk, belts, having no opportunity to be taken out, were hidden in a gallery cellar. During the years of occupation they completely disappeared.

According to the Slutsk Belts catalog which was issued in 2009, in seven Belarusian museums 11 belts remained: five of them – Slutsk ones, others are made according to their pattern abroad. Nobody can name exact quantity of the Slutsk belts in Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and other countries today.

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