Formation of Georgian Movable Cultural Heritage Collections in St. Petersburg Museums

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Inga (Klara) Karaia


The article is based on the 1st phase research of the project funded within the Fundamental Research Grant by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia (“Virtual Anastylosis of Georgian movable cultural heritage based on the Collections of St. Petersburg Museums“. Duration – 2018-2020. Project #FB17-503, Host organization: Apolon Kutateladze Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Principal investigator: Inga Karaia). This study covers the outflow facts of unique cultural heritage specimens out of the country, as well as the circumstances of the formation of Georgian collections in the museums of St. Petersburg.

Georgian collections was formed at various times (Since the beginning of 19th century including the Soviet period) and in various ways (the donations belonging to the Russian Empire – Romanov Dynasty and the items handed out as gifts by Georgian nobles; archaeological, ethnographic and other expeditions conducted by scientists from different Russian museums; items purchased from private persons etc.) in St. Petersburg museums (State Hermitage, Russian Ethnographic Museum, Russian Museum, Kunstkamera etc.).

Nowadays these collections include exhibits from the archeological excavations (since the Bronze Age to medieval times) of Georgia, as well as various ethnographic objects peculiar to different regions of our country: national clothes, jewelry, carpets and rugs, wood and pottery, crafts etc., fine arts and military equipment samples, religious and cultural, festive, household and other objects, as well as manuscripts and various types of rarities.

The information about thousands of cultural heritage samples containing historic, cultural and other scientific materials kept in the St. Petersburg museums is actually unknown to Georgian scientific community due to systematic research that has not yet been carried out in this direction. It is noteworthy that a large part of these materials not only expresses the diversity of Georgian cultural heritage but also reflects the multiculturalism of the country on the east-west crossroad – adaptation of Eastern-Western elements together with national traditions, that grants them special significance in terms of researching the cultural value in historical, political or social context. To obtain information about them, research and analysis of quantitative and qualitative characteristics, identification and systematization, creation of database and implementation of virtual anastylosis will greatly enrich the Georgian history and art history space with the new knowledge.

Published: Dec 20, 2019

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ქარაია ი. (კლარა). (2019). Formation of Georgian Movable Cultural Heritage Collections in St. Petersburg Museums. Academia. Retrieved from