The 18th century Tobolsk tiles from the Governor's Palace   

Danilov P.G. (Tobolsk, Russian Federation)


              page 101109


In Siberia, ceramic tile manufacturing should be dated to the 1670s1680s, when the stone building in Tobolsk commenced. The source base for studying the tile craft in Siberia is provided by archaeological investigations on Russian settlements. This paper aims at the typology of plots and graphical reconstruction of the appearance and color scheme of a collection of repousse polychromic tiles acquired in the course of archaeological investigations of the Governors Palace in Tobolsk. The collection is dated to the first half of the 18th century. Most of the tiles were fragmented and had signs of burning. The discovered tile fragments belong to the repousse polychromic type. We consider them to be the stove decoration sets due to the traces of smut and soot on the back side and by the presence of a box-shaped rump with some space from the edge. The rump has holes on the sides made to fix the tiles onto a stove with wire. The tiles from the Governors Palace can be subdivided as follows: 1) wall tiles of small hand and large hand; 2) corner wall tiles; 3) corner wall halves; 4) flat banded tiles; 5) corner flat bands; 6) roller-band; 7) cornice belt; 8) valances; 9) legs and 10) gorodki (product made of clay with variations in size used for decoration of brick furnaces). Twenty themes have been reconstructed from the preserved fragments. The stoves with such facework belong to the Renaissance type. In the tile manufacture, opaque, dull enamels were used: blue; turquoise green; white and yellow, as well as translucent glaze producing a glossy brown color on red clay. The study of the tile drawings and ornaments revealed that most of them were borrowed from other centers of tile manufacturing. A large part of the drawings either has stylistic similarity or is an accurate copy of the drawings on the tiles manufactured in Moscow in the 1670s1680s. The drawings on five tiles do not have records in the earlier published works, and therefore they may have local origins. The tile ornament is mainly floral-geometrical, except for three tiles. Two of the latter have zoomorphic drawings of birds and the third one depicts a planter. Both plots are amongst the most popular themes in Russia.

Key words: Tobolsk, Governor's Palace, polychrome glazed tiles, typology of plots, graphic reconstruction.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 29.05.2020

Article is published: 28.08.2020


Danilov P.G.

Tobolsk complex scientific station of Ural Branch RAS, Ac. Iu. Osipova st., 15, Tobolsk, 626152, Russian Federation