HALL 8. CEREMONIAL HORSE HARNESS OF THE 16TH - 18TH CENTURIES

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Hall 8. The Armoury Chamber

The collection of horse ceremonial harness preserved in the Armory Chamber has no analogues in other museums around the world regarding quantity and artistic value. It was formed during the 16th-17th centuries, thus constituting the so-called Stables Treasury. The most of the collection consists of the items made in the workshops of the Stables Office of the Moscow Kremlin.

The Stables Treasury held a special place in the Tsar’s Treasury. Precious horse trappings made by the Kremlin masters were preserved here as well as valuable horse harnesses imported to Russia as diplomatic gifts and trade supplies. Exhibited in the hall are saddles, stirrups, various adornments and horsecloths crafted by Russian, Iranian, Turkish, Polish and German masters.

During the 16th-17th centuries, the treasures of the Stables Treasury were incorporated into the solemn court ceremonies, serving as precious adornments, demonstrating the Tsar's wealth and power during military campaigns and parades, as well as receptions and seeing-off of foreign ambassadors. The Stables Office was an ancient and the most numerous court establishments, counting more than 700 employees in the 17th century. It was in charge of preserving and replenishing the Stables Treasury, organising royal processions where horses were needed. There were more than 150 saddle horses, carriage and sledge horses for a Tsar, kept in the sovereign's stables; 50 horses served for a Tsarina and princesses; 100 horses were intended for ambassadorial processions; three thousand horses were used in ceremonials and more than 40 thousand in military campaigns. The building of Stables Office, its workshops and Treasuries were situated in the Moscow Kremlin on the spot of today’s Armoury Chamber building.

Key exhibits of the hall are displayed in two central showcases No.53 and No.54. Those are the gifts of the 18th century, witnessing Russian military glory and commemorating Russian victories in Russo-Turkish wars for the access to the Black Sea and the liberation of the Christian nations from the Turkish domination.

Plan:

Plan. Hall 8.