Author Topic: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?  (Read 13974 times)

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Offline koloagirl

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"Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« on: September 23, 2004, 03:46:24 PM »
Hello all!

I was just wondering if anyone else has read that there was a "female bear and 2 cubs" that were stuffed and on one of the landings at the Ipatiev House.

In the book "FOTR" by King/Wilson it stated that these bears were passed by the IF on their way to the murder room and that all of them for some unknown reason - crossed themselves as they passed these same bears.

Do any of you have any speculation as to why they would have done that?  I'm not familiar with anything tied to bears in their faith that would have made them give this gesture.  I hope this is the right place to put this question....I couldn't think of any other spot.  I just thought it was fascinating!

Thank you all!
Janet R.
:)
Janet R.

rskkiya

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2004, 05:00:07 PM »
This is news to me..

I never read that in FOTR...

HMMM-- oh well, maybe they didn't want to end up as stuffed bears -- or perhaps they found it distastful to the bear's remains  -- or perhaps they were just frightened of bears?


I truly don't know
R.

Offline Sergei

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?I h
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2004, 06:59:14 PM »
Hi, I read that too in FOTR and assumed it was an Orthodox response of the living to being in the presence of the dead but I asked my sister who lived in Moscow for several years the question.  She had a  vague recollection that one of the saints/holy men who founded Sergiev Posad (the monastery) was somehow  involved with bears - he saved one, or tamed one, and that was the first symbol of his sainthood.   So maybe they were somehow honouring him?

Sergio

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2004, 09:23:41 PM »
I think that a bear is a "national image" of Russia like the bull is for Spain and the rooster is for France.

Bears make part of Russian Fairy Tale (http://www.therussianshop.com/russhop/plates/trauth.htm).
I think that as time goes by, the bear became the representative image of Russia (snow, cold) linked with the Monarchy and the Tsar (absolute, dictatorship rule like a strong and savage bear):

Bears are from Russia, the Tsar is Russia, so the Tsar is a Russian Bear!

Please see these websites for images:
1) http://www.vintagepostcards.com/cgi-bin/miva?Merchant2/merchant.mv+Screen=PROD&Store_Code=VPC&Product_Code=ROYA-J7568

2) http://www.peterkurth.com/ROMANOV%20BONES.htm

So, I think the bear was an animal with special meaning for the Imperial Family and it may explain why they crossed themselves: faith, superstition or a bad feeling?

It is my personal opinion!  ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sergio »

Offline AGRBear

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2004, 05:54:04 PM »
I remember an article on Russia about how various old tribal rites which held bears as sacred and the most powerful in these ancient religions.....  

I always linked Russia with bears....  I think there was time when the shape of Russia was said to have been a bear.

AGRBear

PS  Changed this post after reading it later.  Didn't omit anything important for this thead.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?I h
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2004, 06:30:12 PM »
Quote
Hi, I read that too in FOTR and assumed it was an Orthodox response of the living to being in the presence of the dead but I asked my sister who lived in Moscow for several years the question.  She had a  vague recollection that one of the saints/holy men who founded Sergiev Posad (the monastery) was somehow  involved with bears - he saved one, or tamed one, and that was the first symbol of his sainthood.   So maybe they were somehow honouring him?


I think you are right, Sergei, it definitely has something to do with that. I was visiting Sergeiev Possad monastery last May and our guide told us the story of the saint who founded this monastery (his name was Sergei too :)). This saint had been living as a hermit for a while, as many monks did back then, and I believe the bears used to take care of him, bring him food and protect him or something like that. And he used to be able to communicate with them. On the walls of the entrance arch to Sergeiev Possad monastery they have a fresco that depicts this saint and a bear together. I have a picture of this fresco from my visit. I think many Russian saints had bear "friends", so as odd as that scene from FOTR sounds, it most likely had something to do with that... By the way, koloagirl, I remember reading that part in the book too and thinking "what is that all about?", I never made the saint connection until now. Thanks, Sergei....

Helen

Offline neva

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2004, 07:03:10 PM »
And the bear was the official mascot of the 1980 Moecot Olympic Games.

neva

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2004, 07:16:14 PM »
It's true that bears have a long and illustrious history in Russian folklore.  But Ipatiev wasn't the only Russian or even Slav to put a stuffed bear at the entrance to his home! I saw a stuffed bear at the entrance to a Bulgarian hotel this summer -- standing upright, with a little tray in its paws for business cards. It must be a Slavic symbol of welcome, because I know bears are very important in Bulgarian folklore as well. I imagine the Ipatiev House bear probably held a little tray in its paws for visiting cards.

The fact that the Romanovs crossed themselves before crossing the threshold indicates to me that they believed they were being taken to another location. This conclusion is supported by some accounts of the murders: Nicholas, when going outdoors, turning to his family and saying, "So we are finally leaving this place," and Botkin's cry in response to Yurovsky's announcement that they were going to be executed: "You mean you're not taking us anywhere?"

Before the Romanovs left their rooms on the upper level of the Ipatiev House, they would also have sat down together in silence for a moment -- Russians traditionally do this before any journey, for good luck. I am convinced they thought they were leaving the Ipatiev House that night.
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Offline pushkina

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2004, 07:49:22 PM »
Quote
It's true that bears have a long and illustrious history in Russian folklore.  But Ipatiev wasn't the only Russian or even Slav to put a stuffed bear at the entrance to his home! I saw a stuffed bear at the entrance to a Bulgarian hotel this summer -- standing upright, with a little tray in its paws for business cards.


i've seen stuffed bears like that in hotels/ hunting lodges in the rocky/central states, and even one in california, i think.  my uncle saw one in alaska which gave him an idea: to stuff his bear stadning up.  so i don't think it's necessarily a slavic welcoming ritual. i think it's hunter's kitsch.

bears, when stuffed, are bulky.  two ways of displaying them without taking much space are as rugs or standing straight up, on their hind legs.

but having seen one of those bears in the shadows at night, with little or very low light, i'd cross myself too...from simple fright.  and i'm not even xtian!
outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming.

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2004, 08:14:09 PM »
I can imagine the stuffed bear theme would be evident in the Rockies region, but I do remember when I was at the Moscow Tolstoy house/museum, there was a stuffed bear, and it was located on a stairwell landing.

The very cutest bear I saw in Russia, though, was the one I held (for a fee, of course ;) to have my picture taken.  This was outside the Hermitage. His name was Fyodor and he was precious.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2004, 08:50:49 PM »
Dashkova, that is so interesting about the Tolstoy house in Moscow!  Because the stuffed bear at the Ipatiev House was also located on the stairwell.

I am wondering if there are any folklore experts out there who might know more details? Perhaps once upon a time the bear was meant to "guard" the house from unwelcome visitors, and only later became associated with welcoming guests.

No doubt hunter's kitsch is an ingredient as well... but never underestimate the importance of the bear to Slavic cultures!  

P.S. Not to grumble, but there is already an Ipatiev House thread in this forum, and I wish we could continue such interesting discussions there.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2004, 07:40:33 AM »
Quote
The very cutest bear I saw in Russia, though, was the one I held (for a fee, of course ;) to have my picture taken.  This was outside the Hermitage. His name was Fyodor and he was precious.


Hey, I remember Fyodor (I guess that's his name) from my trip to St Pete last May! They had the poor thing on a leash and dragged him around the Hermitage area, at first we even thought he was this huge brown dog until we got a closer look... It was kind of disturbing for me to see, I was afraid they may be mistreating him when no one is looking... Apparently this kind of thing is legal in Russia, I mean dragging a wild animal around the city on a leash to take pictures with tourists :(

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2004, 07:47:33 AM »
Hey, this thread just reminded me of a movie I once saw, it was a really weird dubbed Russian movie that I caught on Mystery Science Theater 2000 (remember that very strange show on SCI FI?) a few years ago. Anyway, it was about this guy from a local village who for some reason was turned into a bear, and he proceeded to go around scaring all the village girls  ;D. They had the actor in this really bad bear suit, and some of the worst acting I have seen in my life! In the end, I think he met one girl who didn't care that he was a bear and wasn't scared of him and loved him anyway and so he was turned back into a good looking guy and they lived happily even after. The end. I think this movie was actually called 'The Bear" and it wasn't even a comedy, although you could have fooled me! It was a children's film I believe.... It was really strange! Sorry for digressing...  ::)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Dashkova

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2004, 07:48:16 AM »
Must have been a different Fyodor, mine was a baby bear, very lovingly treated by his owners.  I got to feed him from a baby's bottle. I did see, on another occasion, in the same area, a large bear in a harness being led around.

I don't think it's such a great thing, either, but at least with regard to the baby bear I held, the whole experience reminded me of a "petting zoo" commonly found in the states, and also had a similar experience in Australia, when I got to pet and hold a koala.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: "Stuffed" bears at Ipatiev House?
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2004, 07:55:20 AM »
Quote
Must have been a different Fyodor, mine was a baby bear, very lovingly treated by his owners.  I got to feed him from a baby's bottle. I did see, on another occasion, in the same area, a large bear in a harness being led around.

I don't think it's such a great thing, either, but at least with regard to the baby bear I held, the whole experience reminded me of a "petting zoo" commonly found in the states, and also had a similar experience in Australia, when I got to pet and hold a koala.


Oh, he was still a baby but an older one, he didn't eat out of the bottle anymore. You must have seen him before I did so he grew up a little. They didn't treat him badly, this was just something I was speculating about in my head when I saw it, but it just bothered me for some reason that he was being dragged around on a leash in the middle of the city and manhandled by various tourists. I just didn't think it was right for a wild animal... Believe me, I wanted to pet him too, but then I started thinking about all that stuff... But perhaps he is ok with that and hopefully they do treat him well when no one is looking. I was just wondering what they are going to do with him when he is an adult and is no longer so cute and the tourists don't want to take pictures with him for a fee... But anyway, this is a diffrent topic altogether, I may just be too sensitive to this kind of stuff....