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19 October 2018–27 January 2019

State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals

Organized by:
The Moscow Kremlin Museums, The State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals
The Moscow Kremlin Museums
With the support of
The Government of the Chelyabinsk Region and the Ministry of the Chelyabinsk Region

07#Saddle PistolsThe "Russian Royal and Imperial Hunting in the 17th–18th Centuries. From The Moscow Kremlin Museums' Collection" exhibition held at the State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals in Chelyabinsk City is organized within the frame of the cooperation with the Government of the Chelyabinsk Region. This display is dedicated to Tsar’s and Imperial hunting, one of the most vivid phenomena of the court culture.

Over 120 unique objects tell about different types of hunting, as well as about tastes and personal preferences of the Russian tsars and emperors of the 17th–18th centuries. These samples of arms and armour made in the workshops of the Moscow Armoury Chamber, Tula, Paris and other armoury centres demonstrate high artistic level and technique perfection, as well as fashion and tastes of the Russian sovereigns.

The display opens with sections dedicated to the Armoury and the Stables Treasuries—it is hard to imagine the 17th-century treasury of Russian sovereigns without them.

Rare exhibits of the royal travel equipment, which create a bright image of the ceremonial departure of the tsar and his retinue for hunting, are displayed in the “Royal Departure for Hunting” section. Several sections represent hunting preferences of the first tsars of the Romanov dynasty. Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich preferred riding to hounds and bear baiting. The exhibition includes both steel damascened spears, which were used for bear hunting, and charms with bear claw serving as hunting amulets. Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich most passionately loved falconry with hunting birds, which involved the bow in the bow case and the arrows in the quiver, also on display. Harquebuses made by the Kremlin armourers—key objects of the museum collection—as well as carbines, wheellock hunting harquebuses, powder flasks, and cartridge boxes were used to hunt forest animals. Royal hunting was completed by sumptuous feasts, where precious utensils, i.e. standing cups, wine cups and beakers were used; samples of those are also presented at the exhibition.

In the 18th century, hunting became a fascinating gallant entertainment loved by Emperor Peter II, Empresses Anna Ioannovna, Elizaveta Petrovna, and Catherine II. The display presents pieces owned by the Russian sovereigns—the best works of the leading Russian and Western European armoury centres. For the first time, the exhibition introduces pistols with silver furniture, owned by the favourite of Anna Ioannovna—Ernst Johann von Biron. The display includes rare arms from the collection of Peter III, such as breech-loading pistols and gun, arbalest and other not less fascinating items. Of much interest is the sidesaddle of the epoch of Elizaveta Petrovna, who like Catherine II hunted both in the saddles meant for men and women. Guns and horse attire with monograms of Empresses Anna Ioannovna, Elizaveta Petrovna and Catherine II reflect fashion and preferences of Royal huntresses. One can explore the variety and workmanship of Russian armoury school through the section telling about the armoury centres of the 18th-century Russia, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sestroretsk and Tula.

The exhibition will be of interest to everyone fond of Russian history, culture and art.