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The Tsar’s Fabergé Easter Eggs

This morning, Easter Sunday, kids are going to be waking up early to race to the kitchen to see if Easter bunny has visited their house. Heck, I’m going to be doing it as soon as I press ‘publish’ on this post. For my family and I, we’ll be celebrating with chocolate eggs or bunnies, but in Russian Imperial history Fabergé eggs were the top choice of gift for this special time of year.

Carl Faberge was one of the most sought after jewelers at the time, famous for his high quality and uniquely designed products. Most of the Fabergé eggs that the House of Fabergé produced were miniature eggs, worn on necklaces or housed in groups, but there were some larger ones made; the most famous being the ‘Imperial’ Fabergé eggs commissioned by Tsar Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia. 42 Fabergé eggs remain, 10 which are housed in Moscow’s Kremlin Museum.

As part of a touring exhibition ‘Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia‘ which was open at the Shanghai Museum I was lucky enough to take a glimpse at some of the items which had belonged to the last Russian Tsar’s as well as four of the remaining  .

Russian Mantle (cape) on display at the Shanghai Museum, China

The items on display provided great insight into the lavish lifestyles that the Russian Imperial lifestyle. From simple items – brushes or pots – to lavish jewellery or religious icons guilt in pearls (below right) or the mantle of the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovnia (above) made of silk, brocade and ermine pelts.

Religious icon and a flower with petal portraits owned by the last Russian Tsar's - on display at the Shanghai Museum, ChinaPresent from Tsar Nicholas II to Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovina on their 10th wedding anniversary (1904) / The “Kazan Mother of God” Icon – made between 1899 to 1908.

Tea set and other assorted household items used by the last Russian Tsars - on display at the Shanghai Museum, China

Fan used by the last Russian Tsars - on display at the Shanghai Museum, China

Assorted decorative modes of transport owned by the last Russian Tsars - on display at the Shanghai Museum, China

It was the Fabergé eggs that were the most alluring items though. Each unique and expertly crafted, guilty with jewels, a story to share and a ‘surprise’ – a condition that Tsar Alexander III made when commissioning the eggs.

The Faberge eggs owned by the last Russian Tsar's - the ship egg

The first egg, “The Memory of Azov” was ordered by Alexander III as a gift for Tsarina Maria Fyodorovna to commemorate the journey undertaken by the Tsar’s sons, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (later known as Tsar Nicholas III), and Grand Prince Georgy Alexandrovich, to the Far East.
The surprise? A miniature replica of the ship that the sons took.

The faberge eggs owned by the last Tsar's of Russia - the Trans-Siberian rail egg

“Trans-Siberian train” Egg was made in 1900 to commemorate the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

After completing the sailing trip, depicted in the “Memory of Azov” egg, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich stopped in Vladivostok and began the construction of the Far East segment of the Siberian railway, which, in Alexander III’s dream, was to connect the European and Asian parts of the country.
The surprise inside the egg is a miniature Trans-Siberian train which is a perfect duplicate of the real train, but also can be set in motion by winding the mechanism with a tiny gold key.

Faberge Eggs owned by the last Tsar's of Russia - the last Faberge Egg and the Kremlin Egg

The “Moscow Kremlin” Egg (left) was created in memory of the visit Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna made to the old capital Moscow in 1903. The egg was inspired by the Cathedral of the Assumption where all Tsars were married and crowned.
Inside the gold turret-and-wall structure is a music box that plays two traditional Easter festival hymns composed by A.D. Kastalsky.

In 1925, prior to his escape from Russia, Agathon Fabergé, donated a group of complicated carved pieces to the Fersman Museum along with other articles. Whilst orifices had been drilled in the egg and the support created of rock crystal had been created, the egg was not yet completed.
The upper half of the uncompleted egg shows constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, and the stars on it were to be diamonds. The largest stone was doing to be in the constellation Leo, the sign which  Alexei the crown price, was born.

Which would you rather: a chocolate Easter egg or a Fabergé egg?

 

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Details

Shanghai Museum
201号 Renmin Ave, People’s Square
Huangpu, Shanghai

Website: www.shanghaimuseum.net

The exhibition ‘Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia‘ is now
showing in Hong Kong until April 29th, 2013.

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica of HolaYessica
    March 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Wow, these are amazing! I missed the exhibition last time I was in L.A. and now I’m really cross with myself.

    I love chocolate, but I think a Fabergé egg might be even better. 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 1, 2013 at 2:49 am

      Oh blast! That’s annoying. Hopefully you can catch the exhibition somewhere else on the road or perhaps see some of the other Faberge eggs in Moscow one day. =)

  • Reply
    cosmoHallitan
    April 1, 2013 at 1:37 am

    When was this exhibition in Shanghai? I can’t believe I missed it!! I’ve always wanted to see the ones in Moscow and now I am even more determined to go!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 1, 2013 at 2:56 am

      The ‘Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia’ exhibition was on a the Shanghai Museum from September 29th, 2012 until January 3rd, 2013.

      I think after seeing the four eggs on display I’d love to make a stop to see them if/when I visit Moscow, and hope you get to soon as well!

  • Reply
    Sofie
    April 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    I’m thinking one Fabergé egg could get me a looooot of chocolate eggs:)

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Agree with you on that, Sofie!

  • Reply
    A Day at the Shanghai Museum
    July 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    […] [To read more about The World of Fabergé display click here!] […]

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