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The Golden Treasure Trove of the Russian Museum

The Golden Treasure Trove of the Russian Museum

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"Eight hundred years ago, in Kiev, a master goldsmith admired for the last time the wondrous necklace that he had only just forged, intended to adorn the neck of a Kievian beauty now lost in the mists of time, before handing it over to its customer.
A century and a half later the precious adornment was hidden in the rampart of the St Michael Gold-Topped Monastery, beyond which the wild cries of the Mongol hordes could already be heard. It lay there for some six hundred and fifty years, awaiting modern archaeologists, before finding its way into the museum. Now the work of the Russian master delights us with its unearthly beauty and masterful talent.
Such was the fate, in short, of just one of the more than two hundred works on show at the current exhibition. Each of them has their own fates, seen their own events and dramas.
Take for example the golden grivna, an amulet called to preserve the life and then the eternal rest of Prince Vladimir Monomakh. How it did it, we no longer know, but we do know how it survived down to our day. The same applies to the silver cache with the names of those who contributed to it engraved down its sides - Basil II, his son Ivan, Basil III, his son Ivan the Terrible. Along the rim of an ancient wine bowl runs the inscription in Old Slavonic: "By the grace of God We the Great Sovereign Tsar and Grand Duke Michael Fyodorovich Autocrat of All the Russias..." This implies that it was once held by the first Romanov tsar.
Not so far away is a silver gilt tankard, not so resplendant, but also a silent witness of human tragedy. Who knows what dark thoughts it heard spoken aloud, whilst held in the hands of the Tsarevich Alexis, the weak and unhappy son of the redoubtable Peter the Great.
Names, names, names... connected with the fate of Russia, with the fate of us all...
All these objects, however, are more than just witness of the past, precious ornaments. Presented here are works of decorative and applied art created by the great Russian masters.
Therefore the title of the album - The Golden Treasure Trove of the Russian Museum - refers not just to the material, but also to our golden history and culture. We wish you a pleasant journey through its turbulent and enigmatic corridors!"

Vladimir Gusyev