Ivory carving fairy tale.

One upon a time there lived a legend. And when it was getting old and was about to die it asked the Gods: please, find someone who could take care of us and make sure we will not die and our wisdom will not be lost.


And the Gods looked at Earth and saw a little orphan. Neither he was rich nor well educated, but he was smart and had a big heart. And the Gods chose the boy to preserve the legend and make sure it will never be forgotten.

And since then the boy started carving the legends in the bone, elk antlers and mammoth tusk. And his carvings were so beautiful and warm that everyone wanted to have them.


And the name of the boy is Minsalim and tmrw he’s turning 64!


I met Minsalim by chance. The coffee place inside the Kremlin where I like to write in Tobolsk has a gift shop next door. So last week I came over to the shop, saw tiny little statues made of mammoth tusk and asked who’s the artist, to which the sales person, Lena, gave a call to the artists and told him that there’s a girl asking about him.


The next thing was the phone call that I got from Minsalim together with the invitation to come over to his workshop and have a cup of tea and that’s how we met.


Minsalim is very welcoming and easygoing. The door of his workshop that is his home as well are always open and he always has a steaming pot of tea and a legend for you.


My favorite is about the heavenly cat

‘The Gods once created humans. Not that they did a bad job, but creating humans they were in a hurry and left them because they had some more important things to do and later forgot about them. When they remembered about their creations, they saw that humans were incapable of doing anything. 

‘The Gods took pity on them and told the Cat: ‘Go and teach them everything’. But there was one condition – added the Gods – which was that the Cat shouldn’t talk. So the Cat went to the humans and showed them with her own example how to build houses and to make plates, and how to cut wood. 

‘She taught them everything and being proud of herself went back to the Gods. As she was passing by the human creations, she couldn’t help admiring how well  they they built the houses and how beautiful were the plates and how easily were they cutting the wood. And the Cat said ‘Ah’ with admiration and right then the Gods told the Cat to stay with us, having broken the no talking rule’.

I wrote an article about him and stopped by his place to congratulate him with upcoming birthday but Minsalim asked not to buy a cake, just some pastry with meat for the neighbor’s dog, who’s master is a very old man and doesnt have enough food for the dog so the artists helps out.


This is another Minsalim’s feature: he loves helping people. There are two deaf man working in his workshop and an orphan Jenya. For them and many others in Tobolsk Minsalim is a ray of light who teaches them provides them with work and advice.

I wish Minsalim many many years of happy and healthy life and if you happen to be in Tobolsk – stop by his place, ask anyone on the street and they’ll show you Minsalim’s house. I’m sure you will not regret. And yes, bring smth for the neighbor’s dog =)




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