Russian Silver and Wood Box

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reference number: RS_012


silver, wood, enamel, steel, miniature on paper

lenght: 28.5 cm

maker’s mark: Imperial warrant mark of Ivan Khlebnikov

assay master’s mark: Cyrillic initials A.K. of Andrey Kovalsky

assay mark of Moscow, 1879

A large rectangular silver-mounted wooden presentation box surmounted with a skull. The hinged cover is applied with blue cloisonné enamel inscriptions in Cyrillic: ‘To Anatoly Petrovich Bogdanov / 3 April / 2 September 1879 / from Colleagues‘, the jetons of the Imperial Society of Anthropology, Ethnography and Natural Sciences, and measuring tools. The interior to the cover is engraved with the names of the original presenters of the box and applied with an oval hand-coloured aquatint, depicting an archaeological site. The box contains the fitted compartments for accessories and two original steel measuring implements, together with a signed photograph of Anatoly Bogdanov.


The box was commissioned as a gift to Anatoly Bogdanov (1834-1896) one of the most famous Russian zoologists and anthropologists of the latter part of the nineteenth century, on the occasion of the Moscow Anthropological exhibition organised by the Imperial Society of Anthropology, Ethnography and Natural Sciences in 1879.


From 1864 until his death, Bogdanov held a professor’s position in the newly created Department of anthropology at the Moscow State University. The scientist made an important contribution to the development of this emerging discipline not only in Russia but worldwide.


The jewellery firm of Khlebnikov was founded around 1865 by Ivan Khlebnikov (1819-1881) in St. Petersburg, but transferred to Moscow in 1871. The firm was famous for producing silver items of originality and exceptional quality, decorated in the traditional Russian style. The firm produced silverware for Imperial palaces in Gatchina and St. Petersburg (1870’s). The firm gained international acclaim receiving numerous awards at Russian and world art fairs. In 1879, Khlebnikov became an official purveyor to the Imperial court of Russia.

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