Table of contents:
- Tower chests as prototypes of the first safes
- Bed and coffin at the same time
- Musical boxes and an incredible multi chest of Arakcheev
- And then there were no suitcases and the unique transforming chest of Alexander III
When they say "chest", most often it is a box with a lock, which contains jewelry. In fact, in Russia, the most different, sometimes unusual, use was found for chests. Yes, there were feather chests, canteens, canvas chests - from the names it is clear what was stored in them. But there were also chests, beds, coffins and even suitcases. Read in the material how these objects were used in antiquity, and what amazing things the craftsmen did in the chest.
Tower chests as prototypes of the first safes
When there were no safes yet, valuables still had to be stored somewhere. To this end, they began to make terem chests, which pleased with a beautiful finish and an unusual shape of the lid (there was a small superstructure above the hipped one, which was cleverly closed). Jewelry and money, as well as important papers were kept in such chests. Secret compartments were hidden inside, sometimes the bottom was made double.
The most important thing was that only the owner could open such a "safe". After all, the master initiated him into the secret of the work of the chest. Padlocks were never attached to the tower, which could be knocked down by anyone. They were equipped with complex mortise locks, which had a special, secret unlocking mechanism. The scoundrel stole the key - but he could not open it, since it was necessary to perform the necessary sequential actions.
Bed and coffin at the same time
Beds in Russia appeared quite late, before that they slept on benches and beds, on the floor, on the stove and on chests with a flat hinged lid. Often such sleeping places were occupied by the owners when guests arrived. In rich houses, they slept on a chest with expensive things inside, not because it was the only place, but so that no one would steal valuables at night. Here's a kind of alarm. Sometimes the bride guarded the dowry and spent the days before the wedding on a chest filled with riches.
By the way, the word "chest" itself came into the Russian language from Turkic, and it sounded originally like "sandyk". Tatar warriors used their sandykas not only to store things. They buried the dead in them. This method is also reflected in Russian funeral rites. For example, when the ancient Slavs burned a body on a funeral pyre, they poured ashes into small chests. The things of the deceased were also put in them, so that he could use them after death, and also so that his soul would not rush in search of his good and would not bother the living who remained on earth.
An interesting example: archaeologists discovered a tomb during excavations near Pskov. It consisted of a chest with several compartments, which contained the remains of a woman and a large amount of jewelry. There was also a small (13 cm high) chest. What was in it is unknown, but the remaining upholstery consisted of pieces of expensive fabrics.
Musical boxes and an incredible multi chest of Arakcheev
Not ordinary caskets were highly appreciated, but musical ones. They were always made to order. Such gizmos were distinguished by their unique design, and the price depended on the complexity of the mechanism and decoration. It's funny that sometimes the box itself was worth more than the valuables stored in it.
One of the masterpieces of "chest" art is the fireplace chest, which was made according to the project of Arakcheev as a kind of monument to Alexander I. This is a unique multi-item - a music box, a clock and a mini-monument to the deceased ruler. Outwardly, it looks like this: Alexander bends over the clock-mausoleum, located on a casket made of bronze. The zodiac signs were used to decorate the watch, which should symbolize the stages of royal life, namely birth, coronation, marriage day and death. Once a day, namely at 10:50 am, the clock struck. It was at this time that the ruler gave up his ghost. After the ringing ended, the beautiful doors of the sarcophagus opened and a prayer for repose was heard, which played three times.
And then there were no suitcases and the unique transforming chest of Alexander III
Until the 18th century, only rich people could have a forged chest. However, everyone wanted to own such a luxurious item. Ordinary people have found a replacement, namely a chest-box. Such things were made of wood only with a hinged lid and bottom, but as for the walls, they were made bast, that is, they used the bark of trees. It was the cheapest material available to anyone. Such chests were not too heavy and were successfully used during voyages and travels, because suitcases had not yet been invented at that time.
An interesting travel, that is, a mobile option was the headrest chest. They took him with them on trips to store valuables. At the same time, he played the role of a pillow during a short sleep. A magnificent travel chest made especially for Emperor Alexander III. Currently, this copy is kept in the Traveling Palace of Peter the Great, which is located in Strelna. Alexander always took this chest on trips. This was due to the fact that the model is really unique: when the lid of the chest was opened, it turned out that there was a bed under it with a special retractable footrest. The lid instantly transformed into a dressing table, there was a sink equipped with a mirror and a shelf with hygiene items (manicure set, razor, and so on). Very comfortable and really royally.
Also inside were kept a variety of hats, ammunition, excellent tobacco, a travel first aid kit with herbal infusions and ointments, bedding, and a lantern. But the most surprising device was the glove stretcher. The chest also contained a folding table with a comfortable desk and a couple of armchairs. Everything you need for a comfortable trip! With such a set, it was really possible to hit the road without thinking about the little things.
Sleepers often have dreams, which could also say a lot, according to the ideas of that time. Per some dreams, if told about them, could get real punishment.