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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Russian Treasure at Prazky Hrad

Prof. Kriz invited Asia and I to the castle’s exhibition of Romanov Russia (from their beginning, the early 17th century) artifacts, iconography, and adornments from daily life. We joined a private tour of about 20 people, with a Czech historian who gave her presentation in English.

Prague castle was lit up as we crossed the Deer Moat bridge into the inner courtyard. The lights shining golden off the upper spires matched Asia’s new purse she wore with her elegant woolen overcoat (and with that blond hair … I was REALLY in love). We had 20 mins to kill, so we walked around the inner-inner courtyard, where St Vitus’s Cathedral is, and found that we were two of maybe 10 people walking through this huge space. Seems as though the tourists don’t know the castle is open till 9-ish, and some great pics can be taken.

We went inside to the exhibit and found it was in a smallish hall, part of the old castle stables from way-back when. The portraits of the first two Romanov kings fronted the exhibit. The highlight of this opening was a royal necklace the king wore during ceremonies. Made of 88 serpentine gold pieces, there is written on them the provinces held by the kingdom, and all sorts of other info. Quite exquisite.

Asia liked the queen’s shoes; while not quite Jimmy Chu’s or Blanick’s, they seemed to suit a Russo gal of the middle Renaissance (actually, I don’t think Russia ever was part of the Renaissance — too well steeped in that Christian orthodoxy). There was a nice handbag made of silk and gilded threads, but not as nice as Asia’s new bag.

Many pieces were displayed of banquet dishes and flasks and platters. Seems the royals knew how to entertain.

What amazed us both was the level of preservation done for these relatively ancient pieces; all are from b/w 1620-1700. The hand-embroidered clothing looked as if it was finished yesterday, more or less. Jeweled swords, gold & silver threads, buttons the size of eggs, an infant’s golden rattle and a child’s military helmet.

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