A small Erzya village of Podlesnaya Tavla is situated in the Kochkurovsky district, Republic of Mordovia. Since olden times its inhabitants are engaged in traditional Erzya crafts such as wood carving, making wheels, wild-hive beekeeping and local embroidery.
In 1970 the art of wood carving was inspired with new life; the toy of Tavla was given a new birth by N.M. Mastin, an Honorable Art Worker of the Russian Federation. He educated the whole galaxy of skillful carvers, whose works soon won the recognition not only in Mordovia and Russia, but also far beyond the borders of the country.
Having worked out their individual style of carving, the craftsmen of Tavla create their masterpieces in that particular Tavlinsky manner, which has been made recognizable, special and unique by each master. All of them use both classic and primitivistic form, which is notable for simplicity and clarity of images, borrowed from Mordvinian folklore and reproducing well-known scenes and characters.
The information was prepared and provided by the members of THE POVOLJSKY CENTRE OF FINNO-UGRIC CULTURES.