In September 1909 the famous Russian photographer, Prokudin-Gorskii, visited the town of Zlatoust. During his visit, Prokudin-Gorskii took the picture featured above. The image is titled, ” Weapons Cabinet in the Arsenal Museum of the Zlatoust Plant” by The World Digital Library.
Zlatoust is located in the Ai River valley to the west of Chelyabinsk. It is named in honor of Saint John Chrysostom. The town is famous for its finished metal projects. Since 1754, Zlatoust’s metal plant has produced metal works to include armaments for the different Russian regimes. More specifically, in the begging of the 1800’s an arms factory was constructed which produced sabers and swords. In 1918 the Soviets took control of the city. Under Soviet control, Zlatoust grew into an industrial city that specialized in metallurgy, mechanical engineering, tool-making, food production, and other industries.
In 1825 the director of the Zlatoust plant, Pavel Petrovich Anosov, built a museum dedicated to showcasing weaponry produced by the plant. Prokudin-Gorskii’s picture, highlighted above, was taken in the Zlatoust museum. The image depicts a hill of daggers and sabers.
I find Prokudin-Gorskii’s picture rather stunning. I believe it represents the beauty and eloquence of not only Russian metal working, but the former aristocrat class. Only Russian nobility or officers were capable of purchasing such finely made weapons. In hindsight, the picture foreshadows the fall of the Russian nobility. While the arrangement highlights the prestige of such weapons, ultimately these weapons would fail to be enough to stop the revolution.
The World Digital Library, Prokudin-Gorskii Collection, https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5300/#q=Prokudin-Gorskii