St. Petersburg, Pushkin: Tsarskoe Selo, 2020. Sewn pb. The authors explain how the Tsarskoe Selo Palace-Museum ended up with such a rich collection of Asian arms. This edition of the State Museum Preserve Tsarskoe Selo's complete collection catalogues publishes 118 blade weapons from Alexander II's own collection in the Asian Room of Tsarskoe Selo — a significant number for the first time. Works were created in Turkey, Ottoman Albania, Persia, India, the Caucasus (a few in Russia and Poland). Among the most informative visual documents are watercolors of the interiors where Alexander II displayed his arms collection in elegant and inventive ways. Archival photographs of the early twentieth century further demonstrate the arms collections as artistic displays. Nicely photographed and printed details of the works bring out their extraordinary artistry and kinship with jewelry. In catalogue entries the authors provide the usual cataloguing data — place of origin, date, materials, techniques, preservation, provenance, inscriptions (in original language and translation) — and also note historical events or personages that the work may be related to. Bibliography, archival sources, index of donors, and list of exhibitions enhance the catalogue as a source on Asian arms and the history of collecting. The works fall into three categories: sabers and broadswords (shashki), yatagans, daggers and knives. 312 p., 27 cm, approx. 150 color illus., Rus. Item #4095
Most of the imperial family beginning with Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century were fascinated by the practical and artistic aspects of arms. Collecting arms became a tradition, empresses such as Anna Ioannovna and Elizaveta Petrovna were as avid as emperors. They acquired and commissioned arms, and devoted important interior space in palace residences to displaying their collections. Run: 150.