In some Russian cities you can notice a very beautiful window artwork on the walls of old wooden houses. In Russian it’s called «Nalichniky» and means something «on the face». It’s amazing how the etymology shows the inner sense. In case of Russian «Nalichniky» it says that a house is considered as a body with its inner world and from outside you can see first its face. This first look of course is very important. And as a famous Russian writer Chekhov says «People should be beautiful in every way – in their faces, in the way they dress, in their thoughts and in their innermost selves.» The same is for Russian houses.
Last centuries it was very popular to decorate houses by such wooden masterpieces. But carved windows weren’t created only for beauty. The main function of wooden ornament was protection. First of all additional wooden panels helped to cover gaps in wooden walls and protect from cold winds. And at the same time wooden ornaments were amulets that provided peace and safety at home.
Modern ethnographers that study Russian ornaments say that some symbols meant fertility, richness and life fullness – for example an image of a tree or different plants, solar symbols such as the sun, rhombus, rays meant the obtaining and increase of both material and spiritual benefits, water symbols such as waves or drops meant purifying and life-giving.
Unfortunately the time doesn’t have mercy on the beauty of former centuries and it’s almost not possible to find such houses in modern big cities. But there are small towns in Russian province that are proud of saving traditions and it’s possible to visit such places when you travel around the Golden Ring. Such beautiful towns as Plyos or Kostroma are still alive and can share with us the beauty and traditions of old Russian style. Walk slow on the streets exploring ornaments on the window and try to define what people lived in these houses.