By Galina Grishkevets
According to Margarita Martynova, the spouse of Belarus’ Foreign Minister, ‘acquaintance with the unique exhibits of the museum, which reflect the history and diversity of Belarusian culture, allows a glimpse at the soul of the Belarusian nation’. The foreign ladies were able to view national costumes, ancient icons and bells, while a master of bell ringing demonstrated ancient ringing melodies.
The spouses of the heads of mission and international organisation offices also viewed two Slutsk sashes, of which there are only five in Belarusian museums. One, made in Leon in the 18th century, was donated to the museum by famous London collector Andrzej Ciechanowiecki. The Belarusian folk group FolkRoll presented their vision of traditional Belarusian music, combining classical form with acoustic improvisation and folk motifs. Although the band is young, it has already won awards from international festivals. Their performance was followed by a band of flute players, called Nymphs, from the Belarusian State Academy of Music. The meeting was friendly and cordial — a true Christmas festival, including fortune telling, fancy dress, songs and dancing.
The Museum of Ancient Belarusian Culture is used by art historians, ethnographers and archaeologists, keeping about 20,000 exhibits. Most have been gathered during expeditions by museum staff, while some are donated as gifts. The museum began collecting its exhibits in 1967, with collection of old Belarusian artefacts beginning as part of The Code of Monuments of Belarus’ History and Culture.