Museum Quality 19th Century Russian Distaff from Archangel in the Artic Region

Carved from a single piece of timber in the 4th quarter of the 19th century in North Dvina, Borok in the Arkhangel Region of the northern Russian Artic, this distaff was made as a dowry gift for a daughter. The amount of gold used in the paint (which was expensive) reflects the wealth of the family. The tempera painting technique employed and careful preparation of the wood for painting developed from the ancient tradition of icon painting in the region. The character and rendering of the animals, particularly the birds is very appealing (see detailed photos from link).

Here is a description of the different types of distaff from the Sergiev Posad Museum and here is an article in Russian with photos showing how the distaff was used. The last photo below is from this article:

The cyrillic text under the main painted panel on the back reads 'Маленькое дело лучше большого безделья' or 'It is better to do a little than nothing at all'. Thanks to Оразбай Сампур for helping with deciphering the cyrillic calligraphy and the translation. Size 90cm high by 23cm wide, the foot 50cm long.

This is the finest example of an antique distaff outside a museum collection that I have seen.