THE SWORD OF KHAN KUBRAT
Curator: Assoc. Prof. Dr Ilya Akhmedov from the Eastern Europe and Siberia Department, State Hermitage

24/05/2019 - 30/06/2019

At the initiative of the Prime Minister, Mr Boyko Borisov, and with the active cooperation of the Minister of Culture, Mr Boil Banov, the exhibition takes place during the Days of the Hermitage Museum in Sofia. The deputy director of the State Hermitage, Prof. Georgii Vilinbakhov, will attend the opening.

Two objects most emblematic in Bulgarian history — the sword of Khan Kubrat and the ring bearing the monogram ΧΟΥΒΡΑΤΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΚΟΥ (TO THE PATRICIAN KUBRAT), proof of the name of the patrician dignitary, Khan Kubrat, stored in the State Hermitage, will be on display in the National Gallery within the Days of the Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s richest museums.

The sword and the ring are part of a treasure discovered in 1912 near the village of Malaya Pereshchepina, on the bank of the Vorskla River, in the vicinity of today’s town of Poltava, Ukraine. The entire find consists of about 800 objects, many of which are gold and others silver. In 1984, German archaeologist Prof. Joachim Werner brought about a veritable revolution in science, by announcing it as the property of the Bulgarian ruler, Khan Kubrat.

The Malaya Pereshchepina Treasure is an interesting and complex hoard, which includes groups of objects of varying functionalities, with a distinct and well-founded cultural affiliation. Articles crafted by local ‘barbarian’ masters, as well as the toreutic works made in the Iranian-Persian tradition in the lands of the Sassanids, can be identified here. The most numerous are the precious metal articles produced in the ateliers of Constantinople.

By its nature, it is not homogeneous and cannot be assigned to a close chronological period of time (the earliest finds date back to the first years of the third quarter of the seventh century).

Undoubtedly, the most intriguing set of objects pertains to the personal effects of Khan Kubrat. They are insignia relating to the high rank of their owner: a belt buckle of gold, an iron sword with golden hilt and scabbard, two golden mantle fasteners, and two gold bracelets. The most important artеfact among them is a ring bearing the monogram.

The artefacts from such an important collection, dating back to a time before the establishment of the Bulgarian state, are of exclusively importance for the science of history, but also for the history of art. This is one of the rare cases where it is possible to determine not only the ethnic identity of the owner of the objects, but also for them to be linked to a specific name — that of Khan Kubrat.

Accompanying events:

25 May, at 4 p. m. – The curator of the exhibition, Assoc. Prof. Dr Ilya Akhmedov, will deliver a lecture in the Ballroom Hall of the Palace.

29 May, at 4:00 p. m. – Maxim Lapshin will present the Laboratory of Scientific Restoration of Easel Painting of the State Hermitage in Kvadrat 500 of the National Gallery.

24 May–30 June 2019 – Screenings of the films ‘Ah, the Hermitage!’ and ‘To the Hermitage with Love’ in the Ballroom Hall.

The Days of the Hermitage Museum in Sofia were made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria.