Here you will find works of art connected with the history of the Russian state and the development of its artistic culture.
The Armoury is housed in a two-storey building on a high socle. The history of the Armoury goes back to the dim and distant past. The oldest repository for the treasures and jewels of the grand princes of Moscow was the Treasury, or Treasury Court, known to have existed in the fifteenth century. It contained richly decorated arms, ceremonial robes, icons, gold and silver plate, ambassadorial gifts, and also the emblems of political power used during coronations, solemn processions of the grand princes and tsars and receptions for foreign envoys. It must be added that the items in the Treasury Court were not only stored there, but also removed for use by the grand princes and tsars and for official ceremonies which from the sixteenth century were particularly sumptuous in Russia.
As time went on the Treasury acquired more and more valuable objects.
Under Grand Prince Ivan III of Moscow it grew so large that in 1484 a
special stone Treasury Court was built for it between the Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals. By this time the Grand Prince's treasury, which had previously been more like private property, acquired the significance of a national repository in connection with the formation of the united Russian state.
The valuables, clothing, utensils and bedding kept in the palace for everyday use came under the aegis of the Bedding Treasury. Towards the end of the sixteenth century this appears to have been turned into the Workshop Chamber, where all manner of things were made for the everyday use of the royal court. Later this chamber was divided into two, the Tsar's and the Tsarina's. The former came under the Tsar, while the latter was managed directly by the Tsarina and was situated in the Terem Palace under her chambers. Here they made rich robes, bedding and various coverlets with the most exquisite ornamental patterns and complex compositions.
In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the Stable Treasury appeared, in which precious objects for royal processions, harnesses and carriages were made and stored.