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14 Oct 2015

Mogilev History Museum intends to purchase 18th-century Slutsk sash from private collector

Mogilev Oblast, 14 October (BelTA) – Mogilev History Museum intends to purchase the 18th-century Slutsk sash from a private collector for Br1 billion, the Mogilev museum director Alexei Batyukov told BelTA.

At the moment the Slutsk sash is on display in the museum. It has been loaned by Igor Surmachevsky, the owner of the big collection of Belarusian history and culture artifacts from Minsk. The sash was made presumably in 1760-1790 and is in a very good condition. Ornamentation is intact on all sides of the sash. It is 350cm long and 35cm wide. The artifact has been offered for purchase for Br1 billion.

"Of course, it would be a very important exhibit for the museum, on par with the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After all, the Slutsk sash is one of the national relics of the Belarusians, a beautiful sample of decorative and applied art, a historic cultural symbol, and a modern brand of Belarus. The museums of the country have few sashes, and Mogilev has none. Unfortunately, the museum does not have the funds to purchase the sash and we have appealed to the residents of Mogilev, our fellow citizens, and sponsors to lend us a helping hand again,” said Alexei Batyukov.

Regardless of the outcome, the sash will be on display at the museum until the end of the year.

Extraordinarily beautiful, symbolic and expensive piece of male wardrobe, affordable only to the higher strata of the society, the Slutsk sashes were made in Belarus in the 18th century. Belarusian weavers created their unique patterns and symbolic motifs, an exclusive technology. The sashes made by the Slutsk manufactory of the Radziwills, the richest and most influential family of Europe, became world famous. Belarusian museums have 11 Slutsk sashes made in different years and numerous fragments. It is believed that nearly 1,000 Slutsk belts have survived till the present day. Almost all of them are kept outside Belarus. However, Belarus has revived the tradition of making the unique Slutsk sashes. Modern craftsmen make their exact replicas, similar or artistically stylized items which can make an exclusive souvenir.

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