.ART founder Ulvi Kasimov gifts two 17th century commendation letters to a museum

Bought at a Bonhams auction, the relics are surrounded by mystery as to how they ended up preserved over the last four centuries.

Two rare paper relics were purchased by the founder of .ART, Ulvi Kasimov, at a Bonhams auction a few months ago. A collection of similar letters of honour granted to various civil servants, tradesmen and nobles is on display at the National History Museum of Moscow, but the two objects in question are or remarkable – they were issued by the Patriarch of the Tsardom of Russia at the time. The two patriarchal letters were issued in 1622 and 1637, granting lands that were in patriarchal possession and allowances to the state’s subjects. Documents like these are extremely instrumental as they allow one to study topical issues of the relationship between the church and the state, the composition of official service, the system of patriarchal governing bodies.

Researchers have serious questions: it’s not clear where the letters came from and who exactly owned them. Moreover, the state of the letters did not allow to read their contents due to humidity and deterioration. A special study was carried out in order to restore the text.

The provenance of the commendation letters is a total mystery. Who owned them for the last four centuries? How did they end up at a London auction? It’s possible that over time, Blockchain records, such as provided by Digital Twin by .ART, will be assigned to each cultural object, which would allow to store comprehensive historical and physical records of it. In the meantime, the receiving Kremlin museum has a lot to speculate about.


Also published on Medium.

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.