What are these particular swans doing on this particular lake?
November 29, 2010 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I just bought this pin on Etsy (side and back view). It was listed by a Latvian seller who says it's a vintage Soviet-era item. This pin must have been a mass-produced item, since I saw one exactly like it on Etsy last spring, though someone else beat me to the purchase that time. I'm intrigued by the image of swans seemingly menacing a woman and her child, and I wonder if it perhaps references a Slavic folktale. A friend has suggested that it might be a Swan Lake reference, though to my mind it doesn't suit the narrative. Your thoughts and best guesses?
posted by orange swan to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yeah, I couldn't shoehorn that image into Swan Lake. I think it's about The Magic Wild Geese.
posted by tel3path at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2010

Oh, and - what a gorgeous gorgeous pin. Outstanding. I have a lot of Soviet-era pins and none of them are as lovely as that one.
posted by tel3path at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2010

Response by poster: tel3path, I think you are almost certainly right. And how awesome — it's a Baba Yaga tale! I've always loved Baba Yaga stories and had never heard that one.

And yes, the pin is wonderful and I love it. I was so mad at myself for not buying it six months ago when I had the chance and so delighted when I found another this morning.
posted by orange swan at 10:39 AM on November 29, 2010

Aw, it cost 13 kopeeks back in the day... I still have some of my old buttons, never realized they were "antiques". it's definitely that fairy tale, called Swan-Geeze in Russian.

Here is the cartoon, if you're interested: Part 1 and Part 2 (no subtitles, unfortunately).
posted by Shusha at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2010

Response by poster: How old would the brooch be, Shusha? On Etsy a piece qualifies as "vintage" if it's over 20 years old. Oh, and I did only pay $5 (USD) for it — I'm not under the illusion it's some valuable piece.
posted by orange swan at 7:46 PM on November 29, 2010

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