The development of artistic forging in Russia

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07.01.2020

Artistic forging in Russia has its own centuries-old history, archaeological discoveries prove that the ancestors of the Slavs knew how to process iron using fire a hundred years before our era.

The ability to smelt and produce popular items from it has always aroused great respect for foundry workers and forging makers from the population. Many considered them to be magicians and sorcerers, and special abilities were attributed to the gizmos they forged. Surprisingly, even cast iron castings were mistaken for a talisman.

In those days, blacksmithing was considered the most profitable and necessary, however, due to the lack of technologies available at the present time, hammers had to do all the work by hand, to determine the grade of steel and the degree of incandescence of the workpiece by color. During the manufacture of the product, they knocked out all impurities from the metal with mallets, and only after that they heated it red-hot over the fire. When it became flexible, they quickly gave the necessary shape, and the holes were pierced with a chisel and punch.

The first metalworking was intended for household use. She served as utensils and tools. Basically, knives, dishes, plows, plows, sickles, door locks, horseshoes, grabs. In the future, due to the constant danger of attacks, it was necessary to produce defensive and offensive weapons. From year to year, the skill developed, and the knowledge deepened and improved. New methods of melting in ground furnaces appeared, in which the fire was blown up by leather furs by the hands of workers, which made it possible to increase productivity. It was a laborious and very difficult process, but this is what made the blacksmiths stand out from the crowd and made them independent artisans.

Urban blacksmiths of the ancient Russian territories were revered as the most skilled craftsmen than village blacksmiths, who also owned locksmith and arms craft. And their cooking technique was more perfect, and the forges themselves, located on the outskirts of cities, are more fully equipped with a variety of tools and equipment. This helped to carry out the production of high quality and aesthetically pleasing, forging things with voids inside and using curly lining for complex punching.

The military theme was of no small importance. The armourers possessed exceptional virtuosity, making products with pinpoint precision, using complex methods and techniques. Beautiful designs and ornaments were used to decorate swords, sabers, daggers, axes, flails, clubs and other weapons and armor. Additionally, they were inlaid with precious stones and semi-precious stones, which indicated the high status of the owner. Archaeologists at the excavations found chain mail and shishak helmets, made of iron wedge-shaped strips and riveted together. Such an occupation required special professionalism. One of the most famous finds is the helmet of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, made from a single piece in the 12th century, which gave it lightness and good strength characteristics.

In the 13th century, forged elements began to be actively used in architecture. This is evidenced by the roofing of copper, lead and tin, used in the construction of temples and churches. For example, a copper gilded sheet in the Vladimir Assumption Cathedral with the date 1340 indicated on it. Around the same period, the architects of Moscow and the Golden Ring discovered the convenience of such practical and decorative metal structures as gates, fences, lattices, interior decor, candlesticks and even furniture. The Russian style of forging was born.

Numerous crafts, which were forged in the Middle Ages, were able to preserve their appearance to this day and show a modern person the experience and dexterity of farriers of past centuries, and once again reminds of the strength and durability of metal products.

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