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Welcome to Royal Russia

January 7, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) — For those of Russian descent, history enthusiasts, or locals simply curious of Raleigh’s events, The North Carolina Museum of History is showcasing a display of Russian imperial splendor in the nationally traveling dual exhibit, “The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts under the Romanovs” and “Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art”.

Tsars of Royal Russia

Portrait of various Russian Tsar’s during the Romanov Dynasty. Photo credit: Paul Gilbert.

Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Romanov Dynasty, which spanned Russia from 1613 until 1917. The monarchial regime included rules (or “tsars and tsarinas”) as Catherine the Great & Nicholas II and was noted for its fascination with Western culture, glorification of porcelain as “white gold”, and iconographic artistry. 

In “The Tsars’ Cabinet”, patrons will be able to delve into the once private collection of the governing elite. Hand crafted miniatures of the mixed populace of the land, embellished eggs and elegant tableware are a few that comprise the plus 200 piece set. As was fashionable at the time, Porcelain is in abundance here, emphasized in its usage for everything from family heirlooms to ceremonial gifts. 

Porcelain Factory

Porcelain Red Russia sign from The Lomonosov Porcelain Factory. Photo Credit: Imperial Porcelain Manufactory.

Russian Iconography

Russian icon depicting Jesus Christ from a Deësis Cycle. ca. 1845-1860. Photo credit: Daniel Bibb.

In “Windows into Heaven”, the focus shifts from materialism to symbolism in the form of iconography. Originating within Byzantine Christianity, The Russian Orthodox faith served as the fulfillment, guidance and placation of its practitioners. As such, depictions of figures and events adorned various palaces and temples wherever prayer and worship were conducted. All 36 pieces in the set reflect the pinnacle of the Romanov‘s presence.

Located on the Museum’s third floor and running through March 5, 2014.