A World Famous Russian Craft - Gzhel Style Porcelain

by Devendra Pareek on October 18, 2020

Gzhel is the name of the traditional Russian craft making of dishes, tiles, 
and other decorative items of porcelain and pottery pieces of seamless masterpiece.  More literally, Gzhel is the name of an area south-east of Moscow that includes about 27 villages and small towns forming the so-called "Gzhel Bush" where the production of pottery and porcelain is focused.

The presence of clay that is perfectly suited for such crafts and 1800 artisan let to discovery of the hidden secrets of white porcelain earthenware and since then the region has never been the same. 1800 the artisan Kulikov brothers tried to keep their recipe and technology secret, but could not hide the information for long; soon, a porcelain-making tradition spread throughout the area.

The owner of a famous porcelain enterprise by the name of Kuznetsov was definitely from Gzhel region. He founded a small workshop and started porcelain production in 1812. Remarkably, by 1917 Kuznetsov’s manufacturing plants produced two-thirds of all porcelain goods in Russia, and his company had the largest porcelain factory in Europe.

After the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, when Communist took control of Russia, the huge enterprise was nationalized.

Gzhel Style Porcelain – A Famous Russian Craft

We imagine white porcelain goods with bright blue paintings when we hear the term Gzhel today; 
these are the hallmarks of the products of Gzhel. broad range of utensils and decorative objects are made by craftsmen in 
the region: porcelain sculptures and figurines, boxes, vases, candlesticks,
ashtrays, and even clocks. 
broad range of utensils and decorative objects are made by craftsmen in the region: porcelain sculptures and figurines, 
boxes, vases, candlesticks, ashtrays, and even clocks.  

With special cobalt paint that is applied to raw unglazed pieces of porcelain, 
coloring is finished. Then, in high temperature kilns, the painted goods are 
Gzhel Style Porcelain – A Famous Russian Craft
Photo: depositphotos.com
Porcelain development artists get vivid paintings with several shades of blue, despite using just one cobalt pigment. 
This is accomplished by brush technique where different strokes create different paint thicknesses and varying degrees of translucency in effect. 


There are currently some relatively large enterprises in the Gzhel area, but 
lot of small workshops are still involved in the production of traditional Gzhel porcelain. These workshops sell custom-made pieces, an original, one-of-a-kind piece with each of their goods.

Gzhel Style Porcelain – A Famous Russian Craft

“Gzhel is one of the favorite symbols of Russian arts and handicrafts”
There are currently some relatively large enterprises in the Gzhel area, but lot of small workshops are 
still involved in the production of traditional Gzhel porcelain. These workshops sell custom-made pieces, an original, one-of-a-
kind piece with each of their goods.

Everyone in russia has at least of piece of this national harritage. Gzhel is now not only a national art form,

but also a true cultural and historical symbol of Russia.