Russia

Yaga Baba Rides Off to Fight The Crocodile

This lubok dates from the 17th century and depicts Baba Yaga, riding a pig, battling a crocodile. It is believed to be a satire of Peter the Great and his wife Catherine by the Old Believers (who called Peter the Great “the Crocodile”). The figure of Yaga Baba, which is the reversed name of the… Continue reading Yaga Baba Rides Off to Fight The Crocodile

Russia

Cat of Kazan

The Cat of Kazan is a lubok (Russian: лубо́к) from sometime during the 18th century. It is a possible satire of Peter the Great. The author of this lubok is unknown. The text reads “Cat of Kazan, mind of Astrakhan, reason of Siberia, he lived sweet, ate sweet, and farted sweet.”

Russia

The mice are burying the cat (lubok)

This is a very interesting “lubok” (Russian: лубок). Lubki (plural form of lubok) were used as decorations in houses and inns and they might be regarded as predecessors of modern comic strips. “The Mice burying the cat” (Russian: Мыши кота погребают) is thought to be a caricature of Peter the Great’s burial. The caption above… Continue reading The mice are burying the cat (lubok)

Russia

How terrible was Ivan the Terrible?

Just how terrible was Ivan IV the Terrible? We all know what ‘terrible’ means in English (bad, evil, not good). His name in Russian is Иван Грозный (ee-VAN GROZ-nee). ‘грозный’ means “inspiring fear/terror”, “dangerous”, or “threatening.” So his name does not necessarily suggest that he was a terrible leader. But what all did he actually… Continue reading How terrible was Ivan the Terrible?