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Pyotr Stolypin, one of the last major statesmen of Imperial Russia and Prime Minister under Tsar Nicholas II, used to say “Russia without samovars is not Russia!” Alexei Lobanov, a collector of samovars from St. Petersburg, likes to repeat this statement. His collection of savovars, metal containers, which were traditionally used in Russia to heat and boil water, are on display in the Tsaritsino museum in Moscow from July 12 to September 9.
Although he is a professional lawyer, Alexei continues to supplement the family collection of samovars which was started by his great-grandfather and his father. Their family collection counts more than 200 exhibits. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Lobanov confessed that he is now so deep into the subject that he knows what is what as good as a professional ethnographer.
"Our collection will shed more light on the development of samovar as a symbol of Russian culture," Lobanov says. "Samovar appeared in Russia at the beginning of the 18th century, and our collection includes a spate of rare hand-made samovars that were in use in Russia between the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century.Subsequent years saw the beginning of mass production of samovars which were of little interest to me," Lobanov adds.
A metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water, a samovar turned into an important attribute of a Russian household.
In previous years, Lobanov’s samovars were on display in Paris, Prague and the Norwegian town of Bodo, attracting scores of visitors. The hope is that the Moscow exhibition will not be an exception.
© The Voice of Russia. 15 July, 2012