Hello class! For my first blog post I will examine a photograph by Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii who traveled across the Soviet Union to document the Russian way of life through his photography. The photograph I have chosen to examine is from Prokudin-Gorskii’s visit to the town of Zlatoust in 1909. The photograph shows a collection of sabers and daggers assembled into a massive structure. This structure reminded me of the Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones. The town was known for the first cannons made of Russian steel.
Before the late 19th Century, Russia realized it needed to industrialize in order to succeed. Zlatoust later became the center of finished metal production with a significant portion devoted to weaponry.
I wish I could learn how all of those sabers and daggers were collected. Were any of them used in the revolutions of the early 20th Century? What other weaponry can be found in that arsenal?
It was during this time that many agrarian revolutions were occurring. Four years before this picture was taken, the Russian Revolution of 1905 took place which emphasized the oppression the peasants felt during this shift towards industrialization. The state had tried to industrialize by raising taxes but that led to the famine of 1892. I wonder if the weapons produced in Zlatoust were used in the many revolutions of Prokudin-Gorskii’s time.
Zlatoust was founded in 1754 and currently has a population of 166,885. The flying winged horse was the town’s favorite engraving in the sabers—the Pegasus soon became a symbol for the town.
- The bell tower with a chapel of St. John Chrysostom;
- A ski resort located within the city limits with two ski slopes for beginners and a cafe;
- Winged horse sculpture.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.