‘Treasures of Ukraine’ : the December 2022 Slavonic item of the month

This September, Thames & Hudson published Treasures of Ukraine, with proceeds going to charity.  The book is not yet available through the UL, but we expect a copy from the publisher through legal deposit in 2023.

The book is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the history and culture of Ukraine, with an introduction by the famed writer Andrey Kurkov (whose 2022 Diary of an invasion we have recently purchased as an ebook).  Here are the contents of Treasures of Ukraine:

  • Prehistory to early history (45,000 BCE to 9th century CE) / Andriy Puchkov
  • Kyivan Rus (9th to 13th centuries) / Christian Raffensperger
  • The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (14th to 16th centuries) / Diana Klochko
  • The Baroque Era (17th and 18th centuries) / Maksym Yaremenko
  • The nineteenth century and the fin-de-siècle (1800 to 1917) / Alisa Lozhkina
  • Avant-garde art & theatre (1890 to 1939) / Myroslava M. Mudrak
  • Art during the Soviet period (1930s to 1980s) / Oleksandr Soloviev
  • Contemporary art (late 1980s to present) / Victoria Burlaka
  • Folk art / Alisa Lozhkina
  • Timeline of Ukrainian history

The three images further up are from various sections of the book.  They show the Virgin and Child in art from [left] the 2nd half of the 6th century, [middle] the late 14th century, and [right] the 19th century.  The last is an example of traditional Volyn glass painting.

The book’s preamble explains that “[a]ll proceeds from this book go to PEN Ukraine to help Ukrainian authors in need. A proportion of funds will be diverted to support museums in Ukraine that have sustained damage as a result of Russian bombardment, to assist them with construction efforts and to rebuild their collections.”

On the subject of cultural heritage in Russia’s terrible war against Ukraine: for anyone who missed it, the Observer had a recent piece about the work being done by incredible Ukrainian librarians to protect and preserve their collections: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/dec/04/our-mission-is-crucial-meet-the-warrior-librarians-of-ukraine.  It also mentions initiatives to support Ukrainian heritage that have sprung up outside the country, such as SUCHO, the digital metadata preservation project mentioned more than once in previous posts.

Exciting news from them: “SUCHO is now moving into a new phase of the project, defined by three goals: Curate, Donate, Educate. In Phase 2, SUCHO will coordinate aid shipments of digitization hardware, exhibit Ukrainian culture online and organize training for Ukrainian cultural workers in digitization methods.” [from https://www.sucho.org/]

It is extraordinary what people have achieved individually and collectively in 2022 to save library, archive, and museum collections in the face of such terrible attacks, and we must hope that 2023 will see as swift a Russian defeat as possible and the beginning of full reconstruction.

A peaceful Christmas to our readers, as much as possible.

Mel Bach

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