Solving the Antiques Ban

Hunting for art and antiques in a country that forbids the export of anything more than 50 years old seems an exercise in futility. But it's little known that some items can, in fact, be taken out legally. Folk art is one such permissible cate­gory, and the eccentric owners of Larusse (3 Stremyannaya Ulitsa; 7-812/572-2043; run St. Petersburg's leading showcase for it. Beware: They often de­­cline to sell their best pieces, although on a recent visit we were able to pry from their clutches a 19th-century copy of an armchair from the early 1700s ($835). At Sok­ro­vish­cha Peter­burga (4 Vladimir­skiy Prospekt; 7-812/764-5018) the furniture leaves much to be de­­sired, but in this shop next to the Radisson Ho­­tel we found a selec­tion of 19th-century beaded purses inlaid with silver and tor­toise­­shell ($100–$900) as well as var­ious other local crafts.