New Baltic ware collection on display for the first time at Shetland Museum

A collection of colourful Skovi Kapps which highlight Shetland’s trading and maritime links with Russia during the 19th century is now on display for the first time at the Shetland Museum.

This new display features a group of exotic wooden household items known as Baltic ware, Khokhloma ware or Skovi kapps in Shetland; Skovi from Muscovy, the region in Russia where they were produced and kapp which is Shetland dialect for bowl.

From the Russian folk-art tradition each piece is painted with plant motifs using a vibrant mixture of red, gold and black paint. These distinctive wooden bowls and utensils were brought back to Shetland by seafarers working in the Baltic fishing and timber trade during the 19th century.

Curator of Collections, Jenny Murray, who created the exhibition, explains: “This is the first time the museum has shown its collection of Skovi kapps together in a new focus display in partnership with Orkney Museum who recently borrowed some of our Baltic ware for their display last year. Volunteer at Orkney Museum, Ali Turner-Rugg, researched this shared element of our shared maritime heritage to produce the panels showing now in Shetland Museum.

“This new exhibition is a continuation of our shared project ‘New Connections Across the Northern Isles’ with PhD candidate Cait McCullagh. We co-curated museum exhibitions and a virtual museum highlighting our maritime heritage.’

Other engagement including films, music and stories can be explored at: New Connections Across the Northern Isles | Research (hw.ac.uk)

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