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The Three Horse Sleigh

The Troika is the famous carriage or sleigh pulled by three horses abreast and is practically a symbol of Russia. It is one of the most common subjects found on lacquer boxes and other Russian art, such as watercolor painting. All four major villages that produce black lacquer boxes include the Troika as a theme. Since early times, Troikas meant more to Russians than just transportation. Travel in a Troika could be a wild, exciting and a memorable event. Thus, it is common to find the wild thrill of a Troika ride the subject of a Russian lacquer box.

Troika, obviously sharing the same root as the word “Troitsa” (Trinity), displays the major theological emphasis of the Christian East-the focus on the Holy Trinity that God is One God, yet in Three Persons. The Christian West has tended to emphasize the Oneness of the Trinity, but the Christian East has always emphasized the more communal aspect of the Trinity. One can find this “communal” theme repeated in Russian history, society and culture (especially iconography) and also in Troika!



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