Vladivostock Museum to Showcase Fabergé’s Trans-Siberian Railway Egg

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The Primorsky Museum (Vladivostock)

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 19th March 2018, an agreement of cooperation for a period of 5 years was signed in Moscow by the director of the Primorsky Museum (Vladivostock) Victor Shalai and the Director of the Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve Elena Gagarina.

The first project will be the exhibition The Map of Russia – Milestones of History, which will open in September and run to the end of 2018 in the Primorsky Museum in Vladivostock. The opening will be timed to coincide with the Fourth Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held from September 11th – 13th, on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) on Russky Island in Vladivostok.

The exhibition will be devoted to the phenomenon of Russia as the world’s largest state, the status of which it has retained since the end of the 17th century. Visitors will be able to see more than 100 exhibits from the collections of the Moscow Kremlin State Museum-Reserve. This is the first joint project between the two museums.

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Embroidered map of the Russian Empire (1872)

The main exhibit of the exhibition will be a unique work – an embroidered map of the Russian Empire, created by pupils of the Moscow School of the Order of St. Catherine in 1872, and donated to Emperor Alexander II. During his reign, Russia expanded its borders significantly, many lands were annexed in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Far East. By 1867, the Russian Empire amounted to 23,700,000 km2. This will be the first time that the map will be displayed outside the Moscow Kremlin and only the second time in history that it has been displayed in Russia. 

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Fabergé’s Trans-Siberian Railway Egg (1900)
Photo © Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve

Another iconic exhibit of the exhibition will be the Trans-Siberian Railway – a jewelled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian Court jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé.  It was created in 1900 for Emperor Nicholas II and presented as an Easter gift to his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. 

The surprise inside is a miniature clockwork replica of a steam locomotive of the Trans Siberian Railway. A route map of the Trans-Siberian Railway is engraved in silver across the face, with major stations marked by a precious stone, forming a belt around the egg. 

In 1900, the railway linking European Russia with Vladivostock on Russia’s Pacific coast was nearing completion. This was an accomplishment that, despite its tremendous cost in resources and human lives, brought Nicholas great satisfaction since, as Tsesarevich, he had travelled to the Far East to lay the eastern foundation stone.

The Trans-Siberian Railway egg is one of fifty-two Easter eggs made by Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family. The Trans-Siberian Egg is one of ten Fabergé eggs in the Armoury collection of the Moscow Kremlin State Museum-Reserve. The Armoury holds the most Imperial eggs, and the second-most overall Fabergé eggs, owned by a single museum. The Trans-Siberian Egg remains one of the few Fabergé eggs that never left Russia, the others being sold off by the Soviets. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 April 2018