Ca. [1960s]. Item #1575
, 124 pp. 20.8x30 cm. Owner’s cloth binding, 1 page detached, previous owner’s ink inscription on the verso of the front cover (“From the books of E. G. Selipanov. Tbilisi”). Otherwise fine.
An interesting samizdat book about bathhouses published in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The book opens with a humorous verse on the benefits of banyas (steam bath),followed by comics-like illustrations detailing the “ritual” of bathing. The first section of the edition includes numerous plans and illustrations of Russian family baths, interior design of typical baths, modern Finnish saunas, different architectural elements of banyas, etc. This section closes with illustrations showing various steps of broom preparation. The second part of the book opens with a brief historical overview of Russian banyas and contains numerous sub-chapters about distinctive features of banyas, sauna and sensations (aesthetics, acoustics, smell), peculiarities of building traditional Russian bathhouses and contemporary Finish saunas, bath layout options, etc. The author also provides information on the impact of banya on health (as an effective means of losing weight, treating cold, etc.) and offers guidelines on the proper ways of steaming, as well detailed instructions (15 points) for steamers: don’t stay in banya for more than 2 hours, don’t consume alcoholic beverages before, during, or after banya, don’t smoke, etc. Other chapters cover such topics as children and athletes in banyas, different massage techniques, thermal load regimes, compilcations after banyas (burns, fainting) and first aid, etc. The last section of the book offers recipes for the preparation of cooling drinks for use in the baths: different types of kvass, fruit and berry drinks, compotes, kissels, mineral waters, etc. The edition closes with a list of interesting facts: don’t let the coffee boil, etc.
Overall, an interesting samizdat book compiled by an obvious connoisseur of Russian banyas.