Secret Chamber of the Kremlin

Saccos (sakkos) of patriarsh Nikon, 1654

Italy, 17th century-embossed velvet. Moscow, 16th and 17th centuries-embroidery.
Fabric, nielloed gold, gold and silver thread, precious stones, pearls, embroidery.

Saccos (sakkos) of patriarsh Nikon, 1654

The Costume Department has an exceedingly fine and extensive saccos (sakkos) or cope collection. These vestments were worn by patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and other high ecclesiastical figures. Made of precious fabrics and lavishly decorated, they were carefully stored in the state treasury.

This saccos belonged to Patriarch Nikon, a celebrated 17th-century ecclesiastical figure who had considerable influence in matters of state. It is made of quite rare and expensive 17th-century Italian fabric-double-looped embossed velvet. The complex gold-thread pattern of large flowers and crowns set off by crimson contours is indeed worthy of note.

The decorative embroidery was transferred to this garment from the saccos of Metropolitan Dionisius, which was made by order of Ivan the Terrible in 1583 in the Tsarina's Workshop. The considerable weight of this precious fabric is added to by a multitude of pearls, gold, and precious stones sewn onto the remarkable garment, the total weight of which exceeds 15 kilograms.

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