Ice is short-lived material, but grateful. Despite its fragility, ice allows the use of tools used for carving woodwork to process it.
One of the most famous ice sculptures in history is the Ice House, built in St. Petersburg in the 18th century, during the reign of Empress Anna. The ice house was built for a clownish wedding, which took place as part of a winter masquerade.
Today, a dozen festivals of ice figures take place in the northern hemisphere of the planet, the most famous of which are held in Russia, China, Japan, Canada and the United States.
A medium-sized sculpture made of ice can calmly stand for several weeks in the open air (if the temperature is below 0 degrees), and a large sculpture (more than 100 kg) will completely stand for two or three months if it is constantly maintained. Despite this, professional sculptors rarely choose this unreliable material for their work. Ice sculptures are the lot of young artists, lovers, as well as masters of modern installations.
Winter is Christmas time. That is why in Russia, favorite scenes of ice sculptures are associated with fairy tales, folklore, and national mythology. In almost every major city of Russia, on the eve of the New Year, you can meet on the squares of ice Firebirds, Santa Clauses and Huts on chicken legs. Meanwhile, at the famous festivals of Russia you can find very serious work.
In Russia, the most famous festival of ice sculptures takes place in St. Petersburg, on the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Usually the festival opens in early January and continues until early March. Many Petersburg sculptors take part in the festival and create real masterpieces.
The Novosibirsk International Festival of Ice Figures has been held since 2000. The competition involves many teams not only from Russia, but also from Finland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Germany and other countries. The festival is awarded gold, silver and bronze prizes. During the existence of the festival, its masterpieces have appeared here. Among these are the sculpture Russia heroic, Sergius of Radonezh and others.
One of the world's most famous ice sculpture festivals takes place in Harbin, China. Each sculpture here is a work of art. To create (or build) sculptures, specially prepared ice is used. Participants can use absolutely transparent ice from demineralized water, you can use colored ice, frosted, etc. The sculptures of the Harbin Festival amaze with their size and sophistication. Many sculptors create images of dragons and other mythological monsters, someone embodies famous sculptural and architectural masterpieces in the new material.
At night, all the sculptures are highlighted. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world come to admire this sight.
The oldest festival of ice figures is held in Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. The festival has the status of a non-state holiday and has been held since 1950, when passers-by noticed several snow figures sculpted by schoolchildren. Then the idea was born to create a special festival. About a hundred different figures of snow and ice are created annually in Sapporo. Sculptures are created by teams from 25 countries. And about two million viewers from Japan and other countries come to see their work.
Winterlude Festival takes place in Ottawa and Gatineau, Canada. A distinctive feature of this festival is a vivid show accompanying exhibitions of ice figures. Among the events - mass ice skating, ice shows, concerts, dance parties, laser shows, etc. The sculpture competition is attended mainly by representatives of various Canadian provinces. In recent years, the festival is not held every year, because the weather in southern Canada is increasingly failing the organizers.
The First Night Holiday in the USA is the usual New Year's Eve. At this time, in the cities there are many kinds of events. In Boston, one of the components of the holiday is an exhibition of ice sculptures. Interestingly, the celebration of the First Night is non-alcoholic. Unlike Christmas, New Year's Eve in the United States is absolutely sober.
Many companies offer ice sculptures to order. They are often used to decorate presentations and holidays. The cost of such a sculpture can reach up to 12,000 euros.