Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Russian Plate

The British Museum's "History of the World in 100 Objects" has almost reached its conclusion. Object number 96 was a Russian porcelain plate. It was chosen because it was made in 1901 by the Imperial Porcelain Factory during the last years of the Tsar. However, it wasn't decorated until 1921 when it was, ironically for such an expensive luxury object, painted with symbols celebrating the Communist Revolution of 1917. Furthermore, the plate retained its original imperial seal on the back because the Communist government, strapped for cash during the Civil War, sold most of these plates abroad in order to gain hard currency. The plate therefore symbolises the rapidly shifting currents in Russian society at that time - it is ironic that the factory where it was made was renamed once again after the fall of Communism - and is once again the Imperial Porcelain Factory. You can download the podcast and read the transcript of the programme about the plate, and the 99 other objects that have been chosen, at the BBC website.

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