Font size:
Major version:

25 November 2016 – 28 May 2017

Tula, Tula State Museum of Arms and Weapons

Organized by
Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation, Moscow Kremlin Museums, Tula State Museum of Arms and Weapons

15# BugleThe “Russian Royal and Imperial Hunting. From The Moscow Kremlin Museums’ Collection” exhibition is dedicated to hunting, one of the most popular entertainments of Russian tsars and emperors. It was an important part of the court ceremonial, aimed at demonstrating the sovereign’s splendour and majesty, authority and power to his subjects and foreign guests.

The display at the Tula State Museum of Arms and Weapons introduces the audience to the wonderful masterpieces which have been stored at the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin for centuries. None of the Russian museums possesses a collection of art and historic rarities of this kind.  The reason is that the Moscow Kremlin played an exceptional role as the center of sovereignty and the place where both the Royal and the Armoury Treasuries were housed. Here, at the Kremlin workshops extant hunting arms and armour for Russian tsars were produced. In 1810, the ancient treasury was completed with collections of emperors’ and empresses’ hunting arms from the Rustkammer of St. Petersburg.

Over a hundred unique objects tell about different types of hunting, as well as about tastes and personal preferences of Russian tsars and emperors of the 17th – 18th centuries.

The display begins with the 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 royal travel equipment, which create a bright image of ceremonial departure of tsar and his retinue for hunting, are displayed in the “Royal Departure for Hunting” section.

Other sections represent hunting preferences of the first tsars of the Romanov Dynasty. Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich preferred riding to hounds and bear baiting. The exhibition displays both steel damascened spears, which were used to hunt a bear, and charms with bear claw serving as hunting amulets. Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich loved falconry with hunting birds which involved the use of bow in bow case and arrows in quiver, also displayed at the exhibition. A shell bugle used to signal the start of the hunt adorns the exposition. Harquebuses, key objects of the museum collection, made by the Kremlin armourers, as well as carbines, powder flasks, and cartridge boxes were used to hunt forest animals.

In the 18th century, hunting became an amazing gallant entertainment enjoyed by Emperor Peter II, Empresses Anna Ioannovna, Elizabeth Petrovna and Catherine II. The display presents pieces owned by Russian sovereigns, which are the best works of the leading Russian and Western European armoury centers. The exposition includes rare weapons from the collection of Peter III, such as the pump air gun, rifle, arbalest and others. Of special interest are objects of “par force” hunting (when dogs drove game), such as collars and leash.

The particular part of the exposition comprises arms and weapons made by Tula gunsmith famous for high-class artistic and technique skills.

The exhibition introduces the audience to the bright world of the 17th and 18th century court life and is worth visiting for everyone interested in Russian history, culture and art.