RUSSIAN TREAD 2
The Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit word "mandala" (dkyil-'khor) literally means "what surrounds the centre". The centre carries the meaning, and its surroundings – Mandala – is a symbol represented in the form of a circle that expresses this value. Although not all Mandalas have a round shape.
In other words, the Mandala is a force field, a graphic symbol, a scheme of the universe. In the broad sense of the word, it is the universe in miniature, a basic principle, a picture of the world of Tibetan Buddhism, the Center of which, at the same time, is the point giving rise to the formation of the "world of forms" – all things. In addition, this principle is projected on everything in our universe, all Buddhists say so. To me, this scheme seemed reliable. Therefore, I was curious what had been the Center for the Soviet people. What was the sense, form, meaning?
Does the “faith to bright future” mean communism?
At the domestic level, the "cell of society", that is family, had the central importance for all Soviet workers. But according to many Russian writers and philosophers, this Center for the Russian people was Orthodoxy.
Orthodox aesthetics almost disappeared from the cities in the Era of Stagnation. The crosses and icons were rarely hung on the walls. Probably I saw them only in the old ladies’ homes and the artists’ workshops among many pictures in the red corner sometimes. We didn't even wear a crucifix.
Shall we say, that the paraphernalia disappeared, but the baptism ceremony remained. And this fact, like many other paradoxical uncertainties, provides fertile ground for imagination.
What has replaced religious aesthetics? What appeared in the houses, on the walls, in the red corner, what became the sacred Center, around which the entire Soviet Mandala grew?
In 60-70-ies, the wealthy Soviet family surrounded themselves with carpets, warming thin Khrushchev and Brezhnev concrete walls with comfort. In the same years, the crystal became popular. It immediately replaced the porcelain figurines and glassware.
People showed crystal in plain sight at their homes, it showed in "the hills" and on shelves like on the altars. Carpets are not laid on the floor, as once in Byzantium, but hung over the bed, covering the cold and not very smooth walls. As a decoration, people used paintings.
In the 1970s, my father, after much persuasion from my mother, bought and hung over every bed a carpet at home, and the family, according to my Mom, began to live "magically". Soon there became cupboard with a "hill", and with each salary shelves in the "hill" shined brighter and dragged heavier. My mother made crazy installations in the display case for crystal.
I can say that the 70-80's, the happy years of my youth, I spent in a cosy, "carpet-crystal" atmosphere of carefree Soviet childhood, lying under a huge carpet that absorbed my imagination with its abstract pattern.
Carpet and crystal are symbols of the high level of consumption and prosperity of the Soviet family. In these addictions, you can see the Euro-Asian aesthetic tastes of the Soviet people.
Crystal is the West. Carpets are the East.
Two Soviet values, crystal and carpets were used as a material for the creation of two main elements of the Soviet world: the Center, which carries the form and meaning, and the Mandala, which surrounds it.