Calendar - the Guardian of Time
19 December, 2000 - 9 May, 2001
The exhibition shows different kinds of calendars - printed and painted,
representing works of applied art, archeological relics and numismatic
items. The displayed objects chronologically cover the period from the
6th century BC to the 20th century AD and are arranged in four groups:
Antique, Oriental, Western and Russian. The exhibition offers specimens
of calendars differing in the type of calculation the time (by the moon
and by the sun), in covering the period of time (eternal, annual, seasonal
calendars), in function (religious and secular), in the type of given
information (universal and special) and in structure (leaf calendars,
tear-off calendars, code calendars). They are made of different materials
- paper, parchment, clay, bamboo, fabric, silver, ivory, metal, wood,
enamel. The exhibition starts with the Greek red-figure vases dated from
the 6th to 4th centuries BC showing scenes connected with the changes
of seasons. In the Roman section visitors can see the marble bust of Julius
Caesar. After the reform of Julius Caesar since the 1 century AD the year
was calculated by the sun cycle. Western European countries before the
late 16th century and Russia before 1917 lived according to this Julian
calendar. Widely spread among the citizens of the Roman Empire were carved
stones - intaglios representing the god of time Chronos, the signs of
the Zodiac, the Sun and the Moon.
Among the Oriental calendars of interest are the Tibetan astrological
table of the 18th century, Indonesian calendars dating from the 18th and
19th century, Chinese medals commemorating the 12-year animal cycle.
A large group of items constitute the calendars of the Western European
countries. Portrait of the Pope Gregory XIII reminds that he initiated
introduction of the new calendar in the 16th century. On display are also
calendar clocks, whose mechanisms were restored in the laboratories of
the State Hermitage Museum, French embroidery and Limoges enamels depicting
seasons and months of the year.
The major part of the items are the manuscript calendars of the 15th century
and the printed almanacs, year-books and calendars of the 16th to 20th
The Russian section includes a group of decorative art articles, for example
the mechanical calendar dating from the mid-19th century produced at the
Peterhof Lapidary Works. Both Orthodox liturgy and secular calendars can
be seen at the exhibition. Russian secular calendars began from the decree
of Peter the Great ordering to celebrate the New Year starting from the
1 January 1700. From 1726 to the early 19th century in use was the famous
calendar of Jacob Bruce which was regularly reprinted. Court calendars,
published in Russia from 1735, are distinguished in a separate group.
Particularly popular in Russia were also calendars printed by the private
publishing houses of Alexei Gatsuk, Piotr Soikin, Alexei Suvorin, Partnership
of Publishing Business Kopeika, which included the weather forecasts,
tokens, useful information, legal advice, political and historical articles.
There were calendars for different strata of the society - for teachers,
for the nobility, for peasants; there were also calendars on different
subject matters - fire calendar, literature calendar, musical calendar.
The exhibition features modern Western and Russian calendars from the
collection of the Scientific Library of the State Hermitage Museum. They
are dedicated to the major museums, their collections, private collections,
prominent artists and significant exhibitions.
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Calendar - the Guardian
of Time printed by the Slavia Publishing House.
Celestial sphere with constellations
Master Ziia ad-Din Muhammad Lahuri
Popular Calendar of the Partnership of the Publishing
Partnership of the Publishing Business Kopeika
Clock with zone time marks relative to St Petersburg
Wall Calendar for the Year 1998 from the series Urals in the National
Treasures of Russia
Calendar of Bruce
The third page. Astrological calendar Divination for every year events