Manuscript and early printed books

  • Printed Gospel

    (512 sheets)
    Printing - Moscow, 1628. Cover - Russia, early XXth century. 
    Paper, tempera, gold and silver, wood, velvet, metal; printing, engravings on wood, casting, gilding
    Covered book: 34,2 х 21,2 х 7,1 cm
    Came in 1999 through the Purchasing Commitee of the Moscow Kremlin Museums.

  • Manuscript Book of Psalms. Fragment. Russian editing

    (8 sheets)
    Russia, XIVth century. Cover - XIXth century.
    Parchment, ink, colours; ustav (the oldest type of writing Cyrillic letters)
    23,3 х 19,0 cm
    Came from the Grand Kremlin Palace in 1929. 

  • Manuscript Book of Psalms

    (580 sheets)
    Moscow, late XVIth century. Cover - Russia, XVIIIth century.
    Scribe Sophrony
    Paper, wood, leather, tempera, silver; poluustav (еру type of writing Cyrillic letters), miniatures, stamping, gilding, carving
    Covered book: 35,0 х 22,5 х 10,5 cm
    Donated by D.I. Godunov to the Ipatyev Monastery of Kostroma in 1591. Came to the Moscow Kremlin Museums in 1931.

  • Printed book "Theory and artfulness of infantry array"

    Author J. von Wallhausen
    Printing - Moscow, 1647 
    Cover - Moscow, XVIIIth century (?) 
    Paper, wood, leather, metal;
    printing, engraving on wood, engraving on copper,
    watercolours, stamping, gilding
    Covered book: 30,9 х 21,5 х 5,3 cm
    Unknown origin.
    It was kept in the library of
    Moscow Kremlin Museums.

  • Printed Book of Psalms (fragment)

    (108 sheets)
    Montenegro, Cetinje, 1494
    Cover - Russia, XIXth century. 
    Printer Makariy
    Paper, tempera, cardboard; printing
    Sheet: 22,9 х 16,1 cm
    From the Grand Kremlin Palace.

  • Manuscript book "Genealogy of the Russian Imperial Family"

    (5 sheets)
    Manuscript and binding - Russia, 1798
    Parchment, paper, gouache, watercolours, Indian ink, gold and silver, cardboard, silver brocade, velvet, silk, golden thread
    Covered book: 57,0 х 37,5 cm
    From th Grand Kremlin Palace.

  • Printed Bible

    (648 sheets)
    Printing - Moscow, 1756. Binding - Russia, XVIIIth century.
    Paper, wood, leather, metal; printing, engraving on copper, gold and silver stamping 
    Covered book: 39,7 х 27,6 х 13,0 cm
    From the Moscow Ascension Convent.

  • Manuscript book "The Work on Rhetoric"

    (226 sheets)
    Manuscript and binding - Russia, second half of the XVIIth century.
    Paper, ink, cinnabar, cardboard, leather; manuscript, gilt stamping
    Covered book: 20,5 х 17,0 х 4,3 cm
    From the basic Armoury collection.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums collection preserves over 500 manuscript and early printed books.

The oldest monument of the collection is the manuscript Greek Gospel of the XIIIth century. The latest examples are printed books of the early XXth century. There are only about 60 manuscript books in the collection, all of them are unique. A lot of manuscripts, including vellums – manuscripts made on parchment, are adorned with miniatures, colourful figured initials and ornaments. Such perfect examples of Russian manuscript books as Aprakos Gospel from the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin (first quarter of the XVth century), the Godunov’s Book of Psalms with miniatures (the late XVIth century), “Book on the Election to the Most High Throne of the Sovereign, Tsar and Grand Prince Mikhail Fyodorovich”, “The Alphabet Book” by Karion Istomin (the second part of the XVIIth century) and some other manuscripts.

The main part of the collection consists of early printed books in the Cyrillic font. The oldest printed book in the Kremlin’s collection is the Book of Psalms edited by printer Makariy in 1494 in Montenegro. Books printed at the Moscow printing court prevail in the collection. There are also editions of the printing-houses of other towns - Kiev, Lviv, Wilno – presented in the collection. Books are illustrated with gravures, and generously adorned with an engraved ornament. In some cases the ornament is coloured by hand with paints and gold. The majority of editions are church books, such as Gospels, Apostles, Psalms, Missals, Hour-Books etc. because of the repertoire of the printing-houses.

There is also a small number of secular books in the collection, such as “The work on rhetoric” (a manuscript of the XVIIth century), a text-book on military science (translation of the work by Johann Jakob von Wallhausen), the first Russian printed secular book - “The Grammar” by Meletius Smotrytsky (1648) and some others. The books have artistic bindings made by the most skilled masters of that time of wood and cardboard faced covered with cloth or leather (often with gold or silver embossing). Setting bindings are typical for the Sacred Scriptures. Precious covers of Gospels of a significant artistic value were made in different epochs by Russian jewelers, including masters of the Moscow Kremlin Workshops. The major part of items comes from cathedrals and monasteries of the Moscow Kremlin. However, the collections have not survived as separate ones.


Explore the collections of the Moscow Kremlin Museums online