How to Cite
Appaeva, Z. M. (2019). The Specificity of the Ethnic Style in the Monumental Sculpture of Kabardino-Balkaria. Heritage of Centuries, (2), 95-103. Retrieved from
At the Crossroads of Cultures

The Specificity of the Ethnic Style in the Monumental Sculpture of Kabardino-Balkaria

  • © Appaeva Zhaukhar M. Art Critic, Head, Kabardino-Balkarian Branch, Association of Art Critics


The article is devoted to the peculiarities of the monumental sculpture of Kabardino-Balkaria. If in the 1950s and the 1960s, Kabardino-Balkarian sculptors sought to approach the all-Union model of art, in the 1970s and the 1980s, their aspirations changed and became more complicated. The local sculptors were faced with the task of creating objects of art ethnic in the spirit. This task was a strong catalyst for their creative searches. Since the Kabardians and the Balkarians had no fine art traditions during this period, they had to assimilate expressive techniques and means used in the art of other peoples and, above all, of the Russians. Since then, Kabardino-Balkarian artists have been constantly analyzing the context of the world’s art, studying and using the peculiarities of local folk arts, crafts and architecture in their works, and trying to create works that are in harmony with the worldview of their people and reflect the peculiarities of their mentality. These attempts allowed some of them to achieve some success. Over time, the Kabardino-Balkarian monumental sculpture acquired its own face, specific properties that distinguish it from other regional schools. Initially, it was a simple imitation of the stylistics of the art of other ethnic groups, and only later the task was to adapt borrowed forms to the mentality of the Kabardians and the Balkarians. With the material similar to the Russian artists’ one, local authors learned to use stylistic features that were in line with the mountain mentality. They intuitively introduced elements and details that reflected their national mentality into their works. The lack of fine art traditions forces local artists to look at the ancient art forms of the Kabardians and the Balkarians. Artists intentionally study the Nart epic, the folklore of the indigenous peoples of the republic, their architecture, decorative and applied art, choreography, archaeological excavation materials, and they seek to find a pictorial equivalent to verbal and other images. The appeal to the historical past of the natives, to the national theme in general has played an important role in the development of figurative art in the region. Serious attempts have been made to find the cultural roots of the people in the distant past, and on their basis to create a national model of art. It is the accurately found types, characters, the mountaineers’ temperament, finally, the style of the works which leaves no doubt that not only models but also authors of these works belong to a certain people that make up the ethnic character of modern works of art.

Keywords: Kabardino-Balkaria, monumental art, еthnic style, monumental plastic art, national culture, ideological art, mentality, genesis.