The Treasure of the Golden Horde

 

This is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to the artistic life of the Golden Horde. The display includes some 1,000 items made between the 13th and 15th centuries by craftsmen of the Ulus Juchi or Golden Horde - the westernmost of the states that formed after the death of Genghis Khan in the territories of which he was master. A distinctive culture formed there in which nomadic and sedentary features combined and the achievements of the many different peoples dwelling in the state - Mongols, Persians, Polovtsians, Volga Bulgars, Slavs and others - blended. The greater portion of artefacts known to us at present come from archaeological excavations carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries on the sites of Golden Horde settlements and graves.
The chief items in the display are gold and silver articles created both in nomad camps in the steppes and in the craft centres of the Golden Horde towns and cities. They provide an account of the main features of the Juchid legacy of treasure as a single historical complex and present the toreutics of one of the youngest Mongol states, founded in the early 1240s by Batu (ruled 1227-1257), grandson of Genghis Khan.
Khan Batu was one of the Juchids, possibly the most brilliant of the Mongol dynasties. Its founder Juchi (1184-1227) - the eldest son of the founder of the world-scale empire - was given the territory between the River Irtysh and the Altai Mountains. Later those lands became part of the Golden Horde. Attaining leadership in the Mongol world in a brief span of time, in the 1240s the Juchids already rivalled the related ruling houses in the east of Central Asia, Iran and China. Under Batu the bounds of the Juchid territories extended as far as the left bank of the Danube in the west and the Irtysh in the east. The heartland of the state was the Kipchak Steppe. Surrounded by regions with a settled population - left-bank Khwarezm in the south-east, the northern Caucasus, Crimea and Moldo-Wallachia in the south-west, the lands of the Volga Bulgars and Mordovians in the north-west, the Kipchak Steppe very rapidly found itself incorporated into the new political formation that subsequently became known as the Golden Horde,. The exhibition has been organized by the State Hermitage (St Petersburg) with the participation of the State History Museum (Moscow) and the Voronezh Region State Inspectorate for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Heritage.