A Russian Imperial presentation porcelain Easter egg, Imperial Porcelain Factory, Saint Petersburg, after 1883. The egg decorated in imitation of the Emperor’s Imperial Palace Standard: the Lesser State Seal (Malyi gosudarstvennyi gerb) adopted in 1883 is hand painted on a yellow ground. This version of the Lesser State Seal included a thrice crowned double-headed Imperial eagle, the three crowns connected with a ribbon with square (rather than pointed) ends, the black eagle with the shield of St. George encircled by the Chain of St. Andrew on its breast, the eagle’s wings emblazoned with the arms of the major kingdoms and principates making up the Russian Empire, including (clockwise) Astrakhan, Siberia, Georgia, Finland, Kiev-Vladimir-Novgorod, Taurica, Poland, and Kazan, and with scepter and orb clutched in its talons. The egg held on a brown silk ribbon, probably original. Height of egg alone: 2 3/4 in. (7 cm).
The Tsar’s Imperial Palace Banner (Imperatorskii dvortsovyi shtandart) was flown over the palace in which he was resident and had been on a yellow ground since 1858. The version of the Lesser State Seal on this egg was adopted in 1883, allowing us to date the item. The Emperor, Empress, and Heir-to-the-Throne each had a separate Naval Standard (Sudovoi shtandart) flown over their ships.
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