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A Fabergé Easter egg: the spirit is the surprise inside, Russia beyond the Headlines ASIA Pacific, 21.02.2013


The “Faberge Legacy of Imperial Russia”, the largest display of Russian artefacts in Hong Kong, features a fine selection of Fabergé Easter eggs along with more than 200 pieces of jewellery and adornments at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. With three sections “History of Fabergé”, “A Glimpse of Imperial Russia” and “Representation of Beauty”, the exhibition will run until April 29, 2013.

The Memory of Azov Egg, for instance, contains a miniature replica of the Imperial Russian Navy cruiser Pamiat Azova inside, set on a piece of aquamarine that represents the seawater. The egg commemorates the future Tsar Tsarevitch Nicholas and his brother Grand Duke George’s voyage with Pamiat Azova to the Far East. Coincided with the historical context, the voyage ended with an unexpected injury of Tsarevitch Nicholas in Japan. The egg, from its design to historical context, is packed with the complication of surprise, unexpected and unpredictability. 

The unfinished Constellation Tsarevich Easter Egg is another illustration of surprise and unpredictability. The egg was meant to present to Tsar Nicholas' wife, the Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna, but it was never finished because of the Russian Revolution of 1917. In prior to 2001, there were 10 Easter eggs by Fabergé remained and the Constellation Tsarevich Easter Egg was thought to have disappeared. So the discovery of the 11th Easter eggs by Fabergé itself is a kind of surprise.

Peter Carl Fabergé, a Russian jeweler best known for the Fabergé Easter eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs. Born in Saint Petersburg, Fabergé was appointed as the Imperial Supplier by Tsar Alexander III in 1885. Since then, he made an Easter egg each year and consequently two eggs for the royal family. The fame of Fabergé Easter eggs not only comes from their creative design with an artistic surprise inside, but also because of their historical and cultural sophistication.

The ups and downs of Fabergé’s career appeared coincidentally but closely linked to the fate of the Russian Empire. He gained fame and honor through the royal family but his golden times fled away since the October Revolution in 1917.

If we see “Fabergé Easter egg” as a master art, the artwork itself, the artist and the broader historical context complicate the unpredictability of Russian history and present us in a form of surprise.

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