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(Oruzheinaia Palata), in Moscow. (1) A state institution in Russia. Although it was probably in existence earlier, the Armory was first mentioned in written sources in 1547 as a storehouse for weapons. It was located in the Moscow Kremlin. From the second half of the 16th century to the early 18th, the manufacture, purchase, and storage of weapons, jewelry, and articles used in court life were gradually concentrated there. In 1640 an icon-painting studio was set up at the Armory, and in 1683 a painting studio. In 1700 the Gold and Silver Rooms became part of the Armory. Instruction in the art trades and painting was also conducted there.
Some of the finest Russian craftsmen worked at the Armory, including the armorers A. Viatkin, G. Viatkin, N. Davydov, and I. Prosvit; the jeweler G. O. Ovdokimov; the painters I. A. Bezmin, S. F. Ushakov, and N. E. Pavlovets; and the engravers L. Bunin, A. F. Zubov, and A. Trukhmenskii. A number of foreigners also worked there. In 1711 most of the craftsmen were transferred to St. Petersburg, and in 1726 the Armory was merged with the Treasure House (the oldest treasury of the Russian sovereigns), the Stables, and the Workshop, and it became known as the Armory and Workshop. Having lost its manufacturing importance, it became only a storehouse for objects of great artistic and historical value.
(2) State Armory, a very old Russian museum, which was created in 1806 from the collection of the old Armory. Since the establishment of Soviet power, unique works by Russian craftsmen from the Patriarchs’ Vestry and the cathedrals of the Kremlin have been transferred to the State Armory. In 1960 it became part of the State Museums of the Moscow Kremlin.
Represented in the State Armory are the decorative and applied arts of Russia (including works by craftsmen of the old Armory), Western Europe, and a number of countries of Southwest Asia from the fifth century to the early 20th. The collection includes weapons and defensive armor; gold and silver vessels and various articles decorated with engraving, niello, filigree, enamel, and precious stones; embroidery in gold and pearl; tsars’ thrones and regalia; ceremonial horse harnesses; and carriages. The State Armory is located in a building constructed especially for the museum (1844–51, architect K. A. Ton). A branch of the State Armory, the Museum of the Applied Arts and Everyday Life of the 17th Century, opened in 1962 in the former Patriarchs’ Palace.
REFERENCESOpis’ Oruzheinoipalaty, parts 1–7. Moscow, 1884–93.
Gosudarstvennaia Oruzheinaia palata Moskovskogo Kremlia: Sb. nauchnykh trudov. Moscow, 1954.
Oruzheinaia palata. Moscow, 1964.
The State Armoury in the Moscow Kremlin [album]. Moscow, 1969.
I. S. NENAROKOMOVA