On 9 February, the Armoury Chamber's state anteroom hosted the opening of the exhibition “Korea and the Armoury Chamber. The History of the Coronation Gift to the Last Emperor”, which tells the story of the gifts presented by the Extraordinary Korean Embassy to Emperor Nicholas II on the occasion of his coronation in 1896.

On display are five works by Korean masters of the 19th century: a two-section black-lacquered chest of 'Nong' type, which was restored in the Grabar Art Conservation Center with the financial support of the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, two incense burners, and two scroll paintings by the Korean artist Jang Seung-eop (Owon), depicting plots from classical Chinese literature.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Director General of the Moscow Kremlin Museums Elena Gagarina, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Kremlin Museums Sergei Ivanov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Russia Chang Hojin, and Director General of the Grabar Art Conservation Center Dmitry Sergeev.

“This exhibition is a display of the very rare and exceptional pieces that are kept in our museum. Many thanks to the restorers, who have worked hard to ensure that today we can see these fragile oriental objects in all their perfection,” said Elena Gagarina at the exhibition opening. “This has been made possible owing to the masters from the Grabar Art Conservation Center, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and the Moscow Kremlin Museums.”

“The history of these gifts is also very interesting: they were kept in the Armoury Chamber, then World War I broke out, followed by the Revolution… It is only recently that the Moscow Kremlin Museums have begun to restore them with the support of the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation. And finally, the work is done. Today we display these gifts as they were presented in 1896. Since then, relations between our peoples have been good, and this exhibition is a clear proof of the shared history,” noted Sergei Ivanov.

“Russia and Korea have been longstanding neighbours in North East Asia since the 19th century. Since the establishment of close diplomatic relations in 1990, our countries have intensified exchanges and expanded cooperation in various fields, including politics, economy and culture. Today’s opening ceremony marks a new achievement in cultural cooperation. We hope it will be a starting point for a new breakthrough in Russian-Korean cultural exchanges,” said Chang Hojin.

Dmitry Sergeev also addressed the guests with a greeting, noting that the restoration had been carried out in the Grabarev tradition: thorough, conservative, in full compliance with the requirements of the domestic school of scientific restoration.

The show “Korea and the Armoury Chamber. The History of the Coronation Gift to the Last Emperor” runs until 19 April 2023. The exhibition is included when visiting the Armoury Chamber.