"A Flicker of History in a New Year Tree Toy" is the name of the world's first exhibition of New Year tree decorations, which opened in the All-Russia Museum of Arts and Crafts. The items exhibited come from the collection of the American Kim Balashak.
Golden Fluorescence, an international organization of collectors of New Year tree decorations, ruled that every New Year toy manufactured before the year 1966 inclusive count as antiques. The collection of Kim Balashak numbers more than 2,500 items, including toys of the pre-revolutionary period /mostly those manufactured in the 19th century/ and decorations from the Soviet epoch. The collection, which Balashak has been putting together for four years, is the world's largest assemblage of Russian New Year tree toys.
The exhibition presents many rarities, some of which have no analogues. Among these are a series of New Year toys featuring portraits of members of the Political Bureau, which date back to 1937, and toys illegally manufactured in the workshops of the Yermolova Theatre. The fact is, at one point in 1925 the Soviet authorities banned New Year trees as "a heritage from the bourgeois past." The ban was lifted a few years later.
Apart from toys, the display features photographs, postcards, books, newspapers and magazines telling about New Year traditions in various periods of Russian history.
The exhibition is accompanied by Christmas concerts of chamber music and various entertainments, and by the presentation of a book by Kim Balashak titled "Russian New Year Tree Toys."
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