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December, 14, 2005 - February, 15, 2006

Exhibition Hall of the Assumption Belfry

Organized by:
Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography, the federal State Institution "The State Historical and Cultural Museum-Preserve "the Moscow Kremlin"

Standing saltExhibition "Ratification of friendship …" Ambassadorial gifts to Russian Tsars" presents the world largest collections of Ambassadorial gifts, preserved in Moscow Kremlin Museums. The study of the collection was started two centuries ago as the Armoury Chamber became a museum on the order of Emperor Alexander I and its collection achieved curators and researchers. A lot of monuments'  history came to be known thanks to the activity of A.F. Veltman, director of the Museum, famous historian and man of letters, as well as to serious work with archive sources and exhibits by G.D. Filimonov. and L.P. Yakovlev. Up till now, the theme is not completely researched and the work is being continued.

Tradition of mutual donations between rulers belongs to the epoch of Ancient Egypt and Greece. It was well known in the medieval Europe and became an eminent diplomatic instrument and a way of   communication between countries. In the 17th century, world monarchic treasuries were formed by artworks brought by foreign ambassadors. Under the first Romanovs, the royal treasuries were enriched by items of luxury, brought to the Russian Court by Ambassadors either as their private donations or state gifts.

Chronological frames of the exhibition in the Assumption Belfry of the Moscow Kremlin are limited, at one side, by the beginning of external politicl ctivity by the government of Michael Fyodorovich Romanov, at the other side, by the visit of the embassy to future Emperor Peter I  that was the last one to visit Moscow. That was the period in history of the foreign policy of Russia to be fully illuminated by archive sources allowing to trace biography of those artworks of the foreign applied art preserving in the museum collection and exhibited on display. Such sources include illuminated letters missive from the collection of the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts.

Together with the engraved portraits of emperors, kings and tradespeople from the State Pushkin Fine arts Museum and the State Hermitage Museum they create that very historical context representing the life atmosphere of  artworks, which had been placed in the Moscow treasury and interiors of the royal palace.

All the states, with the which Russia supported diplomatic relations in the 17th century, leaved their "visit cards" in the Kremlin treasury.

On display are gifts of eleven countries. Among them are artworks by famous West-European silversmiths, horse harness, precious fabrics, ceremonial weapons, exotic Eastern  items as well as carved crosses and staffs, accepted from the representatives of the Christian East.

We would love to believe, the exhibition of diplomatic gifts would present the visitors joy of viewing the masterpieces by foreign makers and represent the aroma of the time of fluorescence of the Moscow state.

General partner of the project is "LUKOIL" joint-stock company with support by Highland Gold Mining Ltd.