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Lord of the ocean. The forgotten kingdom and its treasures

The exhibition “Lords of the Ocean. Treasures of the Portuguese empire of the XVI-XVIII centuries. The project tells viewers about the forgotten episodes of the history of the conquest of the seas, as well as striking brilliance of wealth - after all, the exposition is included in the series of exhibitions of the Kremlin dedicated to jewels from around the world.We remember little about the role of Portugal in world history - probably because there were no novelists like Defoe, Stevenson or Sabbatini in the country who would have sung the feats of Portuguese merchants and conquerors of the seas. We know a lot more about how the Spaniards discovered and conquered the New World, albeit mainly due to the antipyar, the “black legend” that their sworn enemies of the British created. But Portugal at the time of the creation of a global cultural myth had faded long ago, there was no point in chanting or blackening it. In Portugal itself, the nucleus and, at the same time, a fragment of a great empire, of course, still remember the exploits and long journeys of their ancestors; we also remember.Unknown artist. New street traders in Lisbon (Rue Nova dos Mercadores, Portugal, 1570 -1621. Oil on canvas). London Society of Antiquarians (Kelmscott Manor) Once this country was one of the most powerful and richest nations on earth - and all thanks to sea travelers. Let America on the Spanish money was opened by the Italian Columbus, but the African continent was the first to be thoroughly investigated by the Portuguese. They were the first to sail to India and to China, the first to travel around the world.Unknown artist. Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read further Knight of the Order of Christ (Vasco da Gama? The first half of the XVI century. Wood, oil). National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon.Unknown artist. Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more Afonso d'Albuquerque, viceroy of India (India, Goa, 1545−1548. Wood, oil, tempera). The National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. In order to avoid unnecessary competition between the fraternal Catholic powers, in 1493 the Pope issued a bull, which divided all lands, both already known and those that will be opened in the future, between the Portuguese and the Spaniards.

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

The exhibition, which unfolded in the two exposition premises of the Moscow Kremlin Museums (in the Assumption Belfry and the Patriarch's Palace), allows you to imagine this forgotten world, lost over the centuries, to plunge into its wealth and luxury. , one of the richest streets of that time, where rich merchants walk around and carry around slave-bearers of various races. Maps, atlases and globes - by the way, their creation was regulated by royal edicts in order to protect geographical knowledge from competitors. Pounds of chased silver are premium dishes decorated with amazing reliefs, sometimes with cannons, and sometimes with giraffes and mermaids. And, of course, jewels - pendants, earrings, insignia, showered with emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and other stones brought from overseas edges.Unknown artist. New street traders in Lisbon (Rue Nova dos Mercadores, Portugal, 1570 -1621. Oil on canvas). London Society of Antiquaries (Kelmscott Manor)In the photo above: a set of buttons (Portugal, 1750. Silver, chrysoberyls ... Collection of S. J. Phillips Ltd., London); necklace and earrings (Portugal, last quarter of the 18th century. Silver, gold, topazes or rock crystal. Medeirush and Almeda House Museum, Lisbon).Unknown Portuguese artist. Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more notable ladies (Portugal, about 1620−1640. Oil on canvas). National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon.Chest cabinet. India, Gujarat, XVII century. Wood, bone, metal, carving, 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 type of wood, veneer, and notching - on metal on a metal surface. State Museum of the East, Moscow.In the photo: music stand for liturgical books (Japan, Momoyama or Edo period, end of the 16th - first third of the 17th centuries. Japanese hinoki cypress, varnish, inlay , wood, ceramics and metal. Thus, buildings and sculptures were first decorated. Subspecies of this technique, which appeared in the Ancient East, also include intrasia - wood inlay on wood, marquetry - inlay with thin wood, veneer, notch with metal on the metal surface. Chatat n further pearl. National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon); stirrups (Abumi. Japan, Momoyama or Edo period, end of the 16th - first third of the 17th centuries. Iron, lacquer, wood, inlay Thus, at first, buildings, sculptures were decorated. Subspecies of this technique, which appeared in the Ancient East, also include intrasia - wood inlay on wood, marquetry - inlay with thin wood, veneer, notch - metal on a metal surface.Read on. National Museum a hundred Rinne art, Lisbon).In the photo above: Desktop decoration in the form of a ship. Portugal (?), XVII century. Silver. National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. Below: casket. Portugal or Spain, 1st floor. XVII century. Silver, gilding. Victoria and Albert Museum, LondonReliquary of sv. Francis Xavier. Portugal, to. XVII. Wood carving. Church of sv. Roca, LisbonA separate, especially interesting group of exhibits are things created by the collision of two civilizations. For example, a typical Japanese lacquer screen - but with the image of a mooring Portuguese ship. Or painted in blue Chinese ceramics - but with the image of a European lady in a corset and figma.Screen. Japan, Kyoto, the beginning of the XVII century. Ink, dye and gold foil on paper, brocade, leather imitation paper. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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

Baby Jesus Christ Good Shepherd. India, Goa, XVII century. Ivory, polychrome painting. The National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. These overseas wonders, colonial goods, each of which seemed to be a miracle and, getting after an ocean voyage to Europe, became more and more expensive, ending up in royal treasuries.

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.