19th Century Russian Burak Decorated with Cockerels

Discussion and activity ideas

How this resource could be used:

In KS3 or GCSE (Art), 3D Design or in GCSE Design & Technology (Product Design), students could use this resource as a spring board to design prototype containers out of card.

Amanda Duke, Faculty Leader for Creative and Performing Arts, Steyning Grammar School


  • What other containers can you think of that are made from natural materials?
  • Look at similar resources to this one and find out about other uses of bark.
  • Golden cockerels were a common motif in Russian crafts. Can you think of birds or animals in British culture that have special meanings?


  • Watch the Ray Mears video link (below). Make a decorative sleeve to cover a tubular shaped vessel using A3 card and the clasp technique seen in the video. Once the card has been measured, cut, tried in place flatten out again. Prepare a motif inspired by the poem 'Tale of the Golden Cockerel'. Decorate your card before arranging around the tubular vessel.
  • Research any kind of performance (opera, ballet or a play) that has been inspired by a golden cockerel and design a cockerel costume. Think about the kinds of fabrics you'd need to use to be able to get 'movement' into your costume.    
  • Birch bark items are still made today, often coming from this very remote part of Russia. Click and drag the map (below) to appreciate how far it is from Britain. Click on Ter (for Terrain) and describe how the map can give clues about life in that area.
  • Research what it is like today to live in a remote part of Russia (the links at the bottom of the page will help) and then imagine you live there and write a story of a day in your life.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Haslemere Educational Museum | 

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