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Museum Collection

A Quarter Bottle

A quarter bottle is a traditional Don Cossack name for a large bottle with a capacity of a bucketful quarter (3.1 litre). In the text of the novel “the Quiet Don” by M.A.Sholokhov which is called an encyclopaedia of the Cossack life we read:

A drunk hum of tipsy guests was heard over the laid tables. The matchmakers were seated at the table in the upper room. Soon the newlyweds came from the church. Pouring out of the quarter bottle Panteley Prokofiyevich shed a tear. (Book 1, part 1, chapter 23).

-Panteley Prokofich, what a son you’ve got! ...
-A head of gold he’s got! Brainy he is, a cat of a bitch!
-You, lame devil, put a quarter bottle, at least! (Book 2, part 5, chapter 23). 

In 2012 the collection of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov was added by authentic utensils typical for the household of the Upper Don Cossacks, and among them was a quarter bottle of the early XX century. Such bottles were widely used in the Upper Don region mostly for keeping hard drinks ( hootch, vodka and others).

This object used by Cossacks in everyday life is not unique, but it helps us to imagine the real life of the past times.

Lyudmila Kochetova