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Tsar's toys - an unusual collection of Peter I in the Kunstkamera

Tsar's toys - an unusual collection of Peter I in the Kunstkamera

The famous Kunstkamera (from German - art room) in St. Petersburg (today the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences) was founded in 1714. Tsar Peter I created it as a collection of curiosities and scientific curiosities, and the heirs continue to replenish his collection.

The Kunstkamera is the first public museum in Russia. The museum’s fund have more than 1,2 million items of storage.

The Kunstkamera in 19 century was divided into several museums: Ethnographic, Zoological, Botanical and Mineralogical. An armillary sphere, symbolizing a model of the solar system, is installed on the roof of the Kunstkamera building. This symbol of science has also become an unofficial symbol of St. Petersburg.

The following compositions: North America, China, Mongolia, Korea, India, Indonesia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Japan; Lomonosov and the Academy of Sciences of the 18th century, the Gottorp (Big Academic) Globe and others are presented in the museum.

Each thematically hall of the museum tells about the life of a particular country or continent. You can see a traditional Mongolian yurt, a mock-up of a Bengali village or All Saint’s Day attribute in Mexico – a skull painted pink.

A collection of rarities-embryos with various deviations and stuffed animals is the special feature.

Peter the Great saw the so-called “rarities cabinets” at many royal courts in England and Holland, and in 1715-1717 he bought a collection of rarities from the Dutch pharmacist Albertus Seba.

The room of rarities makes a unique impression on visitors. Here you can see with your own eyes things and objects that Peter the Great himself touched with his own hands, carefully collected and stored them.

Among the first exhibits of this room is the skeleton of Siamese twins from the collection of the famous Dutch anatomist Frederik Ruysch.

Gottorp Planetarium Globe, you can climb into it through the door and inspect the map of the starry sky, placed from the inside. The diameter of the giant globe is 3 meters. It was commissioned by the Duke of Gottorp Friedrich III (hence the name), and the author of the project was the great cartographer Adam Olearius.

In 1713, the ruler of the duchy presented this toy weighing 3,5 tons to the famous lover of rarities - Peter the Great.

Boat heavenly - a mechanical toy depicts a heavenly boat, on which the deity (made of amber) is surrounded by dancers and musicians (made of ivory), travels the seas. It is key-wound and was created in the early 18th century at the court of the Manchu Emperor Kangxi, in a Chinese watchmaker's workshop run by Jesuit missionaries.

Paleolithic Venus - this is how scientists called similar figures of the Upper Paleolithic era (40-12 thousand years BC), partly in jest: they do not look much like the image of the beautiful ancient goddess Aphrodite. Partly because they have hypertrophied signs of femininity - breasts and buttocks. In cave times, such ladies were highly valued. This figurine is carved from mammoth tusk, approximately 21-23 thousand years old. It was excavated at the Kostenki site in Central Russia in 1936.

Geisha O-Matsu - in 1890-1891, the Grand Duke, Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich, went on a long journey and brought from him a human-sized doll, a portrait of a geisha, called Moroka O-Matsu. He met her in one of the entertainment establishments in Kyoto, and he liked her very much. Then the hospitable host of the Japanese Emperor Meiji asked the famous sculptor named Kawashima Jimbei II to make a portrait of a geisha. The doll was presented to Nikolai before leaving Japan, and upon arrival, he handed it over to the Kunstkamera.


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