Koschei Puppet

Description (Brief)
This colorful painted wood puppet , Koschei, the Deathless, is one of four marionettes based on a Russian folktale, was created by Basil Milovsoroff for his play ">>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>". Koshei the Deathless, is accompanied by Baba Yaga,the wicked witch, and Leyshi the magical villain and and jokester, and includes a background setting painted with what Milosoroff called The Hut on Chicken Legs. The puppets could be operated with either strings or a rod. Milovsoroff was known for his strange but whimsical puppetswhich were based on characters from Russian folklore and fairy tales
Milovsoroff called these puppets folklorettes otherwise known as ; sprites, elves, goblins or fairies who lived in an imaginary, forest like kingdom. Popular characters found in Russian folk and fairy tales. , these stories were passed down through an oral tradition, or performed on stage as an opera or a ballet, and/or read in books.
Born in Siberia, Basil Milovsoroff (1906–1992) emigrated to the US in 1927 and graduated from Ohio's Oberlin college with a masters degree. in 1934.
Milovsoroff was a member of The Federal Theatre Project ,which was one of many programs created by Roosevelt for the New Deal in 1935. The project was developed during the Depression in order to employ jobless theater professionals and make the performing arts available to the vast number of citizens who had little money for entertainment. The Federal Theater Project , active from 1935-1939 gave many the hope of a nationally supported theater, and it was the most popular cultural project of the New Deal. .
Puppets were an integral part of this project and marionette units presented an average of 1200 shows a week in 22 states
Between 1934-1937, the Federal Theater Project units produced over 2700 plays seen by about 30 million people, most of whom had ever seen a play.
From 1934-1957 he toured the United States producing puppets shows in Museums and children's theaters featuring Russian folk tales
In 1954 Milovsorofff taught Russian at Cornell University and in 1954 was named the Chairman of the National Festival of the Puppeteers of America.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
puppet
date made
ca 1939
maker
Milovsoroff, Basil
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 25 in x 5 in x 16 in; 63.5 cm x 12.7 cm x 40.64 cm
associated place
United States: Vermont
ID Number
1985.0398.02
accession number
1985.0398
catalog number
1985.0398.02
subject
Puppetry
1939 exhibit
Popular Entertainment
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
1939 exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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