This porcelain vase together with at least three other similar examples were designed by Lyudmila Protopopova in 1938 as gifts for the members of the famous Soviet polar crew, led by Ivan Papanin. The inscription on the base of the vase ‘[to] Shyrshov’ suggests that this vase was given to Petr Shyrshov (1905-1953), an oceanographer from the Papanin’s crew.
In 1937 the Soviet Union was actively exploring its Arctic coast. A polar station was opened on a drifting ice floe, allowing for a wide range of scientific observations. Ivan Papanin and his team of scientists spent 274 days drifting on a 30 sq m ice floe all the way from the North Pole to the edge of the Arctic until they were rescued by two icebreakers in February 1938.
We are grateful to Vladimir Levshenkov for his assistance with the research of the present lot.