The collection of decorative and applied arts in Novgorod museum is one of the most considerable in Russia and covers period from the 5th to 19th centuries. It is based on treasures of Cathedrals and Monasteries' sacristies of Veliky Novgorod, one of the largest centers of making silver in Ancient Rus. This is where precious relics were saved and artistic traditions were kept for many years.
Different stages of making gold and silver items are visually demonstrated in Gothic Hall. These are artifacts of jeweller's art, miniature plastic arts of Constantinopolitan, Russian and West European craftsmen. There are examples of the 11th – 12th cc., Golden Age of the Novgorod toreutics, connected with Byzantine Imperial House, the Prince's and the Episcopal Court: antique Eucharistic vessels, a large and a small pyxes.
Works of jewelers, bone, stone and wood carvers of the Mongol Invasion period (13th – 14th cc.) are demonstrated by the rare items of personal use that give information about local features of miniature plastic arts. Articles of unique church everyday items (14th –15th cc.) reveal the essence of Orthodox service. Particular attention should be paid to worldwide known panagiarian of Sophia that was made by Ivan, jeweler from Novgorod, in 1435.
The exposition also displays such artifacts that give evidence about contacts of medieval Novgorod with countries of Byzantine and Western Europe. The Ivory chest of Constantinople, gospel bindings, made by craftsmen from Limoges, France, a chest from Rhineland, reliquary, made by German craftsmen.
The Cross Chamber accommodates works of ceremonial religious and profane art showing tendencies of gold and silver making evolution in Novgorod (16th –17th cc.).
Particular interest arouses in respect of the articles of the first half of 16th c. which were made using refined filigree, cast refined relief, precious stones – cabochons. The exposition also displays well made silver and golden covers of communion and pectoral crosses, pectoral icons from Cathedral of St. Sophia, the Gospel from St. George Monastery.
The panagia of archbishop Pimen with Byzantine cameo of 11th c., oval carved icon in the golden cover with refined impregation of enamel and precious sapphires attracts attention as well.
Items of personal usage of Novgorodian bishops (15th-16th cc.), things for divine service, coming from Cathedral of St. Sophia's sacristy are worthy of appreciation. They are notable for rich ornamental decoration, high technique and artistic quality. These are croziers of Metropolitan Herontiy and archbishop Pimen, holy-water bowl of 1593, censer of 1586.
Church antiques of 17th c. that came from other Novgorod temples and monasteries form the most numerous group of monuments that once were found in the Novgorod temples. Censers from Cloister of Holy Spirit and Antony's Monastery, the communion cross made by Grigory Lopkov in 1690, ripidions from Cathedral of St. Sophia and the panagia of Metropolitan Macarius, cover of the big diptych St. Euphemius Vyazhishchsky demonstrate high professionalism of Novgorodian chasers and engravers. The plate of 1659 for the consecrated cross from Vyazhishchsky Monastery looks harmonious and solemn. Logical construction of floral ornament, relief's height of chasing, accuracy in transfering of decor in carved design, cleanness of decoration are seen in every work.
Works of enamellers of 17th c. are interesting and important. These are the samples of Orthodox church household items: covers of folding icons-cum-prayer, the Gospel of 1654, the panagia from St. George Cathedral. Works of the Novgorod Jewellery School as a whole are characterized by rich ornamental language, combinations of enamel hues.