Organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in collaboration with The Moscow Kremlin Museums, this presentation features more than sixty exceptional objects that large embassies, diplomatic missions, and trade delegations from Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Iran offered to the tsars of Russia. Ranging in date from the early sixteenth to the late seventeenth century, these lavish gifts and tributes include rarely seen arms and armor and jeweled ceremonial vessels and regalia intended for the Russian court or the Orthodox church. Some of the finest pieces are equestrian in nature: stirrups with pearls, golden bridles with turquoises and rubies, and saddles covered with velvet and silk. The exhibition, only on view in Washington, D.C., explores the reasons why these extraordinary gifts were presented, their artistic and cultural impact, and how they inspired artists to develop a highly original visual identity that became a potent symbol for the Russian state and the Orthodox church.
The exhibition received generous support from Lukoil.
The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and organized in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States.