The reform of Russian Orthodox Church, carried out in XVII cent., lead to the schism. In late XVII cent. some old believers (people who had not accept the reform and followed the traditions of old, pre-reformed Church) left their country and founded the settlement of Vetka on the territory of Gomel region. Very soon decades of old believers' settlements appeared on the territory of districts of Gomel, Vetka and Dobrush. Vetka became the centre of old believers' traditional culture, with its unique iconographic school and handwritten books.
Old believers' icons, handwritten and black-letter books are included in golden fund of Belorussian cultural heritage and form one of the most valued collections of the museum of Gomel palace and park ensemble.
One of the brightest aspects of old believers' traditional culture is iconographic tradition of Vetka. Characteristic feature of the iconographic school of Vetka is its canonicity: using of gilding, gesso, tempera painting is typical. The subjects are usually based on the Old Russian iconographic tradition, but at the same time artists of Vetka added something new to their works making them unique and recognizable.
Following the Old Russian iconographic tradition can be seen in luxurious casings of the icons of Vetka. The casings were made from different materials, in various techniques. Most common casings were metal-struck or bead-decorated. Carved gilded shrines were also used very often. Decorated with garlands of carved flowers and bunches of grapes, icons looked like windows to heaven.
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