The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition “The Treasure Chest. Stories”


On January 20, 2015 an exhibition will open in Krapivna, devoted to a single item that, however, cannot be called ordinary. The treasure chest became a character in numerous literary works (or was mentioned in them), and artists from all over the world depicted it in their canvasses. 

The main exhibits of the exhibition “The Treasure Chest. Stories” are treasure chests from the collection of the Krapivna Museum. They will be filled with objects that used to be kept in them. In addition, a part of the virtual collection of chests that is now being assembled by the museum will be on display in the exhibition hall. It includes images of chests “inhabiting” various artworks and different stories. At present this collection contains more than 100 chests, and each of you can add to it by sending an artistic depiction of a treasure chest to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The most interesting picture and stories will be published at the Krapivna Museum’s pages in social networks, and the whole collection will be displayed at the web site


A treasure chest, as a piece that is no longer used in our everyday life, is now associated mostly with village houses, and it seems that only old things can be kept there. Women of fashion always take their vintage clothes from grandmothers’ treasure chests. However, not only dresses, but also secrets can be found at the bottom of a chest. Anyway, such a cozy and romantic idea of a treasure chest is kind of one-sided. Though there is also a seaman’s chest and a pirate’s chest.

But few people know that treasure chests have been around since Ancient Egyptian times, and the most outstanding Egyptian treasure chest was the ceremonial throne. Or that treasure chests were widely used in Ancient Greece, and in Ancient Rome there were special chests reminding us of modern safes and sheathed in bronze. That the first wardrobe was in fact a chest turned on its side. In Italy during the Renaissance treasure chests were accessories in rich homes, were decorated with painted ornaments and gilded molded patterns, and famous artists used to paint on chests without considering such work degrading.  


Treasure chests came to Russia with the Tatar-Mongols in the 13th century. The Russian word for a treasure chest, sunduk, is of Turkiс origin. Gradually treasure chests became habitual Russian household objects. Vladimir Dal writes in his famous dictionary about “Makaryevo coffermakers who provide with their goods all Russia and Transcaucasia, Khiva and Bukhara; they put six or more chests one into another.” Big chests were used for storing grain, flour and food staffs, clothes and footwear, and utensils, and in small ones – documents and books, money and jewelry. Young girls had special chests for their dowry.   

The exhibition will be open until February 24, 2015. It will be open every day, from 9:00 to 17:00.

Ticket price for a guided tour: 50 rubles (full price), 30 rubles (reduced price for visitors entitled to benefits)

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