Origins of Russia and distinctive characters of Russian sole underlie the folk culture. Traditional songs, dances, folk handicrafts continue to save the origins of the Russian civilization formed hundreds of years ago. Even the innovation having come here from abroad creatively reassessed and obtained traditional Russian features. Musical instruments were reconstructed in a new way suitable for folk songs. Lace and embroidery were altered with native often pagan motifs. Folk culture was able to make everything become its integral part closely interconnected with other aspects of the national life. Today folk culture and folk handicrafts are being revived. It is often possible to find an old master of a family or skilled artisans who is eager to pass on his experience to the rising generation. A person of natural gifts sometimes takes up hereditary handicraft from a growing weaker craftsman.

Movements for the revival of the holiday "The Trinity Round Dances" sprang up in the National Park "Orlovskoye Polesie". Musical groups and folk masters come not only from Oryol Region, but also from the neighbouring regions and states.

The remote of our lands from the both centres of Russian statehood - Kiev and Moscow - influenced the formation of particular qualities of Oryol region handicrafts. Such survived skills as wood carving, house fretwork, creation of wicker furniture, carpet weaving, braiding of Mzensk lace, making of Pleshkovsky and Chernyshensky toys out of clay, production of black glazed crockery out of Raspopovsky clay. straw braiding, hemp braiding, "Oryol Spis" embroidery, producing of button Livny fork accordions are developing on the territory of the region.


One of the most distinctive handicrafts is "Oryol Spis" embroidery. The distribution of "Spis" is congruent with the areas of Vjatichi settlements in Oryol region. The traditional and very diverse embroidery patterns are the images of the ancient Slavic symbols. The name of embroidery "Spis" is believed to come from the word "to copy" patterns from the frosted windows. The traditions of "Oryol Spis" are being advanced by Oryol embroideresses, who create new images and motifs and preserve the age-old ones.


Throughout history many factors have affected the manner in which people dress. Traditions, beliefs, customs and the way of peasant life were reflected in folk clothes. One reason people wore clothing for protection, but clothes were also worn to make the wearer more attractive and to identify him or her in some way. Different forms of decoration were used to indicate a person's rank or to protect against an evil eye or sorcery. Clothing was indisputably the most diverse. A head-dress was an important item of women's clothing. After having got married, the woman became a member of a stranger stock. In order not to bring misfortune to her husband's people, the woman could not allow herself to be seen bareheaded.

The basic costume of Oryol peasants, like the clothing of the Southen Great Russians included a shirt, homespun woolen skirt, apron, compound head-dress and such neck embellishments as necklaces, beads or braid. The favourite combination of colours was red and black.


Making earthen toys is one of the oldest folk handicrafts in the world. The folk handicraft of Chernishinskaya earthen toy has survived in Oryol region. The definition "Chernishinskaya" came from the name of the village "Chernishino" in Novosilsky district. The outskirts of the village are rich in diverse sorts of clay: red, white and blue. There are sorts of clay that are believed to have medicinal quality. Since olden days the men have been using especially sticky clay for making vessels and the women for molding tin whistles. Woman, bird and horse motifs prevail in the district. Toy ladies of the manor, wet nurses and girls with braids are as popular as cuckoos and three-headed horses. Descended from a family of Chernishinskaya toy craftsmen, Anna Charitonovna Afanasova lives in Novosil district. She imparts her mastery to young artisans.


Pleshkovskaya earthen toy is also famous in Oryol region. Pleshkovo settlement was located close to the uniq1ue fire clay deposit in Livny district. Presumably at the beginning of the 17th century the dwellers of Pleshkovo started manufacturing bricks, pottery and earthen toys. Toy handicraft was an occupation of women and girls. On being fired the clay became rose- or flesh-colored. Contained in the clay mice made toys sparkle. Painting was applied in two colours: blue and red. Green was also used. The traditional motifs were horses, a peasant woman, soldier, duck, rooster, cow or ram. The toys were often made as whistles.


The squeezebox "livenka", one of the primordial variants of the Russian folk button accordion is famous far from Oryol region. The ensemble "Livenskie Garmoshki" demonstrates its features to the general public amazingly. "Livenka" was created between 1830-1840 to sound folk and dance music. Traditionally the right key board of "livenka" has a row of 15 pearly bottoms made of mollusk shells found in the Sosna river. "Livenka" has the longest bellows in the world.


Mzensk lace is one of the oldest handicrafts in Rus. In 18th century Landowner Protasova opened a manufactory that produced lace. She invited two mentors from Belgium to teach native girls to tat. The girls were interested in gaining their experience but imitated foreign art creatively. The quality of Mzensk lace was advancing. It won the silver medal at the whole-world exhibition in Paris and the diploma in Glasgow.

The lace school has been reopened in Mzensk. The future lace-makers study there for three years. The best works of young lace-makers as well as the works of their mentors can be seen in the museum of lace. There is an atelier "Mzensk Patterns". The distinctive feature of Mzensk lace is its geometric shapes used in the motifs in contrast to plant ornaments that are typical of Elets lace.


Rag dolls were made in all towns and villages of the region. From olden times children's play has been believed to cause rich harvest, wealth, happy marriage and vice versa to bring misfortune in case the toys have been badly treated. The doll was a symbol of continuation of the family kin. The dolls came in variety of sizes and styles: talisman-dolls, swaddled babies ("pelenashki"), dolls of married couples ("nerazluchniki"), mother-in-law's dolls, "Gypsy", "Butterflies". The seeds from the stuffed dolls "zernovushka" sprouted very well, after the winter children's play with them.


Folk artists become repositories for many traditions in their art. The folk art is a developing process that never stops. Nowadays such folk arts as ceramics, wood carving, different kinds of wicker-work, production of traditional Russian folk musical instruments survive and advance in Oryol region. Twenty seven Oryol region folk artists have been given the rank of "The Folk Master of Russia". The stock company "Oryol ceramics" produces traditional Oryol souvenirs. The school of Fine Arts is in Oryol. The folk masters teach the youth folk arts.