Ivan the Prince and the Gray Wolf

August, 2020

Ivan the Prince and the Gray Wolf

Ms. Moskvicheva

Suzdal, Russia
35.5 x 30.75 inches or 90 x 78 centimeters
cotton, hand-appliquéd and embroidered with inked inscription
Ellen L. Bassuk and Susan Louis Russian Quilt Collection, 2018.008.0022

Ivan Tsarevitch (Ivan, son of the king/emperor) is the hero in “The Firebird” folktale. “The Firebird” is one of the most famous Russian fairy tales and has many different variations. 

Most versions tell the story of the young Prince Ivan setting out to capture the magical, mysterious firebird from a faraway land, who has stolen a golden apple from the king’s orchard. Along the way, a gray wolf attacks Ivan and eats his horse. The wolf regrets his action and eventually helps the brave prince fulfill his quest.

Click here for a video of Curator of International Collections Marin Hanson reading “The Firebird” as told and illustrated by Gennady Spirin.

This quilt was made as a result of a group of Russian women inviting a delegation of three American quilt teachers in 1991. After the exchange, the Russian students continued to make quilts. In the late 1990s, they began to sell their creations in the United States with the help of cultural exchange organizations. In “Glasnost and Folk Culture: Russian Quilts at the Turn of the 21st Century”—on display Aug. 4. 2020-Feb. 14, 2021 you see a selection of the results of the multi-year project: American-influenced quilts with distinctly Russian imagery.