The "Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia" exhibition, the largest display of Russian artefacts in Hong Kong, opened to the public today (February 6) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. The exhibition will run until April 29, offering visitors an opportunity to appreciate the fine Russian craftsmanship demonstrated by more than 200 pieces of jewellery and adornments once belonging to the Russian imperial family. Most famous of the treasures on display are the celebrated Fabergé Easter eggs created for the Russian court.
The exhibits, on loan from the Moscow Kremlin Museums and the Fersman Mineralogical Museum of Russia, were created between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. The leading master goldsmith and jeweller of the era was Peter Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), who used superb craftsmanship to create ornate jewellery of great artistic value. Fabergé was appointed as the imperial supplier to the Russian court and received many commissions from abroad. Of the numerous items that the House of Fabergé created for the Russian court, its Imperial Easter eggs were the most famous.
The exhibition was officially opened today by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; Consul-General of the Russian Federation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People's Republic of China, Mr Vladimir Kalinin; Deputy Director for Exhibitions and International Exchange of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Mrs Zelfira Tregulova; Deputy Director for Promotion of Educational Programmes of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Mrs Olga Dmitrieva; Director of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum, Mr Victor Garanin; Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Ms Belinda Wong.
Mr Tsang said at the opening ceremony that the exhibition was the largest in Hong Kong showing rare and exceptional Russian artworks, and provided a rare opportunity for local people to appreciate four Fabergé Easter eggs at the same exhibition.
"The exhibits on display also include some 200 works of art created by Fabergé. These valuable artefacts showcase the artistic and cultural achievements of Russia from the late 19th century to the early 20th century," said Mr Tsang.
He said the Government of the HKSAR signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation with Russia in 2011, which provided a solid basis for the two cities to foster closer cultural ties in tandem with growing business, financial, and tourism links. Mr Tsang added that this exhibition also marks the beginning of large scale cultural collaboration between Russia and Hong Kong and he looked forward to future exchanges.
The exhibition is divided into three sections featuring the artistic achievements of the Russian jewellery industry. The first section, "History of Fabergé", introduces Fabergé and his "jewellery empire", displaying some of his typically ornate artworks and a number of his gemstone collections.
The second section, "A Glimpse of Imperial Russia", introduces the close relationship between Fabergé and the royal families of the last two tsars of the Romanov dynasty. Highlights of this section are the four Fabergé Easter eggs. They represent not only the height of Russian jewellery craftsmanship, but also reflect some important moments in Russia's history. The Trans-Siberian Train Easter Egg, for instance, was made in 1900 to commemorate the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway in the world. The unfinished Constellation Tsarevich Easter Egg was made to commemorate Tsarevich Alexei, or the crown prince, the family's main hope for the continuation of the dynasty. However, the outbreak of the Russian Revolution soon marked the end of the Romanov royal family. Along with these celebrated art pieces are other artworks that used to belong to the last two Romanov tsars and their family members, together with artworks commissioned by the Russian imperial court as official gifts.
The third section, "Representation of Beauty", focuses on ecclesiastical objects and treasures of the people including silverware, jewellery and adornments. Using exceptional craftsmanship the Russian artisans used a wide array of techniques to create beautiful and ingenious works of art.
To enhance visitors' understanding of Fabergé's work as well as Russian art and culture of the period, a video depicting the art of Carl Fabergé as well as the rise and fall of the House of Fabergé will be featured in the gallery. In addition, a series of workshops, lectures and docent tours will be organised during the exhibition period.
Schools, registered charitable and non-profit-making organisations that arrange group visits with a minimum of 20 persons can apply in writing for free admission. Application forms can be downloaded from the website at www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/downloads/freeadmissionform.pdf .
Standard admission tickets for this exhibition are priced at $20 (Thursday to Monday) and $10 (Wednesdays only). Full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities can enjoy concession fees, which are $10 (Thursday to Monday) and $5 (Wednesdays only).
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin. It opens from 10am to 6pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 7pm on Saturday, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed at 5pm on Chinese New Year's Eve. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of the Chinese New Year.
Paid car parking is available at the museum. Those who prefer to use public transport may take the MTR Ma On Shan Line and get off at the Che Kung Temple Station, which is within three minutes' walk of the museum.
For details of the exhibition, please visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum's website at www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/eng/exhibitions/exhibition_details.aspx?exid=200. For enquiries, please call 2180 8188.
Ends/Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:36
The Trans-Siberian Train Easter Egg was made in 1900 to commemorate the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway. A route map of the railway is engraved across the face of the egg, with major stations marked by precious stones. Inside the egg is a miniature Trans-Siberian train. The craftsman placed a complex mechanism inside the locomotive so that the miniature train could be set in motion by winding the mechanism with a tiny gold key. The train consists of a locomotive and has five gold carriages labelled "direct Siberian communication", "ladies only", "smoking" and "non-smoking", while the last carriage is a chapel. This egg is part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums collection.
The Memory of Azov Easter Egg was made to commemorate the journey undertaken by the sons of Tsar Alexander III - Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Tsar Nicholas II) and Grand Duke Georgy Alexandrovich - to the Far East in 1890-1891 to broaden the outlook of the future tsar and his brother. They also visited Hong Kong during this trip. Inside this imperial egg is a miniature replica of the Imperial Russian Navy cruiser Pamiat Azova ("Memory of Azov"). Set on a piece of aquamarine the colour of sea water, it is skilfully executed down to the smallest details replicating the rigging of the cruiser - tiny boats, anchors on chains, cobweb-thin ropes of the finest gold on masts, and in microscopic letters the name "Azov" can all be seen with the naked eye. The egg is part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums collection.
The Pansies frame contains miniatures of the five children of Nicholas II and his wife. They are the Grand Duchesses Maria, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alexei. The miniatures are mounted within diamond-set borders. The frame was a gift from Nicholas II to Alexandra Fyodorovna on their 10th wedding anniversary, November 26, 1904. This frame is part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums collection.
On this luxuriant version of the Virgin of Kazan, the clothes of Virgin Mary and Jesus were adorned with white pearls to represent their innocence and purity. Virgin Mary was revered by most Russians for her blessing and protection. After a fire destroyed the Kazan city in 1579, it was said that the Virgin appeared to a girl and told her where to find the precious image. The tsar later requested a church dedicated to the Virgin to be built where the icon was found. This is part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums collection.
A wide array of silver filigree objects were created in the 19th century. These include highly life-like miniature toy carriages or automobiles. This toy automobile was a replica of a saloon made from 1905 to 1910. The door behind the back seat of the convertible is open, and details such as the headlights, the handbrake and the gear-lever are all included. This toy automobile is part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums collection.
From 1871 to 1872 the Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich - the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II - visited the US, Canada, Japan and the Far East. This traditional, handcrafted niello and silver tea and coffee service featuring the Kremlin on the banks of Moscow River was a gift presented to the wife of the future Hong Kong Governor Sir Arthur Kennedy during the trip, and the service was also used by Queen Victoria. The former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was later given the set as gift during a visit to Italy. The set became part of the Kremlin Museum collection in 1990.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition " Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia" was held today (February 6) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Officiating guests were (from left) the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Ms Belinda Wong; Director of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum, Mr Victor Garanin; Curator of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Mrs Tatiana Muntyan; Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; Consul-General of the Russian Federation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Mr Vladimir Kalinin; Deputy Director for Promotion of Educational Programmes of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Mrs Olga Dmitrieva; Deputy Director for Exhibitions and International Exchange of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Mrs Zelfira Tregulova; and Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung.
Mr Tsang (right) and officiating guests view the exhibition.
Mr Tsang (second right) and officiating guests view the exhibition.