The land to the west of the “papal meridian” was inherited by Spain, and Portugal - all eastern: a piece of South America, later becoming Brazil, India, the Philippines, the Moluccas, and many other rich territories where developed civilizations existed for a long time, and many skilled craftsmen worked. However, in the 1580s, due to the suppression of the ruling dynasty, the Spanish kings crushed Portugal, making it part of their empire. The country fell into decay, the impudent Protestant England and Holland began to chop off colonies and markets ... They would never regain their former greatness.
Illustration: Treaty of Tordesillas. Spain, Tordesillas, June 7, 1494. Manuscript on parchment. National Archive of Torre do Tombo, Lisbon
Some of these things were made by Oriental craftsmen because of inspiration from a new, surprising topic. Then, with the development of trade, a huge number of Asian artisans began to create items immediately for export, combining their old techniques with European subjects. The effect is sometimes amazing: for example, in the statuette of Madonna and Child, carved by the master of the Ming dynasty of ivory, the Chinese style suddenly takes on a touch of gothic.
Photo: Madonna and Child. China, Ming Dynasty, 1580−1640-е. Ivory, carving. Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Such is the silver cup from the nautilus shell, created by Indian masters for some European customer. Now he is kept in the Kremlin, because he belonged to Prince Alexei Petrovich. Or lacquered Japanese case for a headdress in the style "namban", unexpectedly made in the form of a wide-brimmed European hat. It is decorated with Latin letters - the initials of Jesus Christ. What ways the case reached Russia is unknown. According to legend, it belonged to Patriarch Nikon, but now this hypothesis has been refuted - in the style of the ornament, this is already a completely different era.Photo: Case for a hat (Namban). Japan, the period of Momoyama or Edo, the end of the XVI - the first third of the XVII century. Wood, black lacquer, painting, inlayIncrustation (from late Lat. Incrustatio - lit. bark coating) - decorating objects and buildings with stones, wood, ceramics and metal. Thus, first decorated the buildings, sculptures. The subspecies of this technique, which appeared in the Ancient East, also include intrasia - wood inlay on wood, marquetry - inlay with a thin kind of wood, veneer, and notching on metal on a metal surface. Moscow Kremlin Museums. According to legend, Patriarch Nikon’s hat of white Chinese wool was stored in the case. No, only the positive side is presented here - everything tells about the benefits, profits and beauty that sea travel brought to the Portuguese and through them to other Europeans. And this one-sidedness makes a visit to the exhibition a magical journey through time (which should be a visit to every good exhibition).
It’s just not necessary to go here: it is necessary to revive all the books read in childhood about pirates, caravels, holds filled with goods and oriental beauties. Fragments of memories of the journey of Athanasius Nikitin, fairy tales about Sinbad the Sailor, Feuchtwanger's novels about the gloomy Pyrenean monarchies will also do. And then it will be possible to imagine this disappeared world with the countries washed by the oceans, the ruler of which was once Portugal.Heavenly Globe. Germany, Augsburg, 1575. Master Christopher Schiesler Senior. Copper, iron, engraving, gilding. National Palace of Sintra, Portugal. The exhibition takes place from December 8, 2017 to January 25, 2018. Arthiv: read us in the Telegram and look at InstagramText, photo: Sofia Bagdasarova. Reproductions are provided by the Press Service of the Kremlin Museums.