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Saint Basil's Cathedral, A Musical Egg

Saint Basil's Cathedral, as it is commonly known (its actual name is "The Cathedral of The Intercession of the Virgin on The Moat"), stands on the edge of Red Square, in the heart of Moscow. Built on the site of the earlier Trinity Cathedral by order of Ivan The Terrible, it was constructed between 1555 and 1561 to commemorate Ivan's successful military campaign against the Tartar Mongols in 1552. The Cathedral, which physically looks like no other Cathedral you've ever seen, has nine chapels each representing a battle won and each distinctively crowned with a variation of an onion dome brilliantly patterned and colored. The design so appealed to the Tsar that he that he forbid the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, to ever build anything more beautiful than the Cathedral and then, to be certain that his will would be done, he put out the eyes of Mr. Yakovlev! Or at least that's how the story goes. A moniker such as "The Terrible" doesn't attach itself to a person without good reason.

The church's design, filled with deep religious symbolism, was meant to be an architectural representation of New Jerusalem, the heavenly kingdom described in the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine. The eight onion domes are positioned around a ninth spire forming an eight pointed star. The number eight denotes the day of Christ's Resurrection and also carries several other deeply religious meanings.

One thing that is particularly interesting is that Red Square predates Communist Russia by hundreds of years. Although much of the Cathedral is built of red stone, that was not the reason for the name either. It was named Red Square because in Russian the word for beautiful is the same word as the word for red, 'krasnoya' and it relates to the beauty of the Cathedral.

The lower half of the Egg is Limoges porcelain hand painted in midnight blue with decor of gold leafy arabesques.The upper half of the Egg is hand cut crystal in a single large sunburst that centers at the crown of the Egg. The cut crystal top makes it possible to see the Cathedral even when the Egg is closed. The clasp is a medallion of the Romanov double headed eagle insignia. The melody played by the music box is a theme from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Retail: $3000.00. Our price: $2699.90.

 

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