For the first time the mention of the Monomakh's Cap is found in the forties of the XIV century when listing the property of Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita, which was left in the inheritance. Under Vasily III, a legend appears that the Byzantine emperor Konstantin Monomakh sent a cap to the Kiev prince Vladimir Monomakh, although the latter died fifty years before Vladimir became the prince. Despite this, the Russian historiographic tradition, starting with N.P. Kondakova, adhered to the version of the Byzantine origin of this cap. However, this opinion was later challenged by A.A. Spitsyn, who took the cap to the Mongolian time. According to the American scholar G. Vernadsky, this legend appeared to substantiate the version of the continuity of the power of the Russian tsars from the Byzantine emperors, and not from Chingizids. He believed that Monomakh’s cap was handed over to Prince Ivan I of Moscow by the Golden Horde Khan Uzbek - the grandson of Mengu-Timur, the great-great-grandson of Batu-Khan and the great-great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. The modern researcher MG Kramarovsky, adhering to the opinion of Spitsyn, includes a hat in the circle of Golden Horde monuments of jewelry art. He considers the centers of its production Crimea or Volga cities of the beginning of the XIV – XV centuries.
Analysis of archaeological and ethnographic materials describing the art of the Crimea, the North Caucasus, the Tatars of the Volga-Ural region and related Turkic peoples (Nogai, Turkmen, Chuvash and Bashkir) allowed the researchers to add new data and give their own version, shedding light on the origin and identity of this caps.
The previous researchers did not take into account the form and some details of the cap itself, as well as written sources, revealing its inheritance by the Russian princes. In addition, it was revealed that the cap initially had a slightly different look, and this was taken into account by our attribution.
Based on the written evidence of an eyewitness - Baron Sigismund Herberstein, Ambassador of the German Emperor Maximilian I to the Russian Tsar Vasily III, who visited Moscow in 1517 and 1526, we revealed an important detail - the cap had gold pendants, and the edge of sable fur and a cross in it the completion appeared later, as indicated by the employees who examined the cap Armory the chambers.
According to a number of researchers, for example M.G. Kramarovsky, to the cap was added pommel, decorated with precious stones with pearls. According to A. Spitsyn, the hat may have originally had a cross according to the type of the “crown of Janibek”. However, the testimony of the Baron does not confirm this opinion: “Our hat is called a hat in their language: it was worn by Vladimir Monomakh and left it decorated with pearls, as well as elegantly decorated with golden plaques that swayed all around, often waving when moving.” In a later translation of The Baron’s Notes, published in 1988, this interpretation of the last part of the text is given: “... golden plaques that swayed, wriggling snakes”. Thus, such an important part of the completion of the cap, as a cross, is not even mentioned by the baron, which clearly indicates its initial absence. But an important detail appears - the cap had gold pendants, since only they could sway when moving.
The materials of the Simferopol treasure, which is stored in the Historical Museum in Moscow, revealed a striking similarity in the details of the women's headgear from the treasure with the top of the cap. A similar arrangement, as well as the fastening of a cylindrical rod in the tops of both hats, allows us to make a conclusion (unlike M. Kramarovsky) about the initial belonging of the top, wearing a later cap, cap. The feathers of a peacock or an eagle owl were inserted into the pommel of a Turkic women's headgear, and a cross was inserted into the cap of Monomakh.
The motifs of the ornamentation are a lotus, a six-pointed star with a floral rosette inscribed into it and without it, a two-way braid, leafy in a characteristic interpretation are limited to the monuments of the Volga Bulgars of the pre-Mongolian and Golden Horde times, and the 14th century Crimea.
They are also found on individual unique works of Mamluk art, for example, on a silver inlaid drum of the 15th century, and are inherent in objects belonging to the notable Kipchak elite of the Golden Horde society.
The oldest part, the caps, is made up of eight gold plates, each of which resembles an elongated isosceles triangle with a clipped vertex. Along the edges of the plates there are holes to which a cloth basis was fixed. All plates are decorated with a complex scan pattern of the finest gold wire.
The fact that the hat was created by Golden Horde jewelers, there is a number of incontestable evidence. Firstly, the nature of the ornamentation and the technology of the scanned decor. The cap is created using the technique of applied filigree and granulation. Moreover, in some cases, granulation is used in the outlines of the lotus motif, which adorns the four plates on top of the scanned wire. Of these, the central one - with a red ruby in a round frame and with four pearls; on its sides are two plates with a green emerald in a rectangular frame in a composition with three pearls; the fourth plate - with the lotus motif - is located opposite the central one. The composition of the decor highlights the main front part of the cap. In other cases, granulation decorates leaf motifs, according to the outline of a smooth wire.
On the four other plates of the cap, the motif of a six-pointed star with an 12-petal rosette inscribed in it is central.
Each of the eight plates of the cap is decorated with precious stones (green emeralds and red ruby), inserted into the high smooth nests. The cap is bordered on the outline by the motif of a two-way braid. A certain principle is revealed in the decoration of the cap: four of the eight plates are with the characteristic motif of a lotus, and three of them are the front part, four other plates are with the leading motif of the six-pointed rosette.
In the creation of a scanned pattern, two compositional techniques are used, characteristic of scanned jewelry with a large ornamentation surface. This is, firstly, the reception of filling the frame spiral patterns with the rhythm of the same large curls, twisted from left to right, and, secondly, in the form of plant shoots that have curls on both sides. A number of researchers believe the Byzantine origins of the tape scan caps, attracting to the proof the monuments of the last quarter of the XII century. However, the technology of invoice and tracery filigree and a similar craft tradition were known in the Volga region even in the pre-Mongol period. In particular, to the X – XII centuries. The discovery of the scrawled pear-shaped earrings from the Bulgarians, adorned with a thin patch scan on a silver plate. By the end of the pre-Mongol period are scanned openwork earrings with an ornament in the form of large curls on both sides of the scanned wire.
To the greatest extent analogies in the technique of filigree are revealed in the monuments of jewelry art of the XIII – XIV centuries belonging to the Golden Horde range. This is, firstly, a scan on objects from the Simferopol treasure (a golden prayer case from an invoice of filigree), from excavations and treasures of cities in the Itil Bulgaria and the so-called Bukhara plaque. As for the motifs used in the decoration of the caps, such as a lotus, six-pointed star with a floral rosette inscribed in it, a seven-piece rosette, characteristic leaf-like motifs, they are limited to monuments of the Volga region, in particular the Volga Bulgars, and the Crimea of the Golden Horde time. These motifs are found on individual unique works of Mamluk art, for example, on a brass, engraved and silver-inlaid drum from the 15th century.
In the design of the drum, a characteristic lotus motif, a six-pointed star with a rosette inscribed in it and a two-way braid motif, a bordering drum around the perimeter are used — all three motifs in a similar composition solution are used in the decoration of the cap. The background of the Mamluk drum is solved in the form of an ornament of large spirals with an inscription applied to them, which reads: “His highest excellency, regal warrior”. The lotus motif is placed in three medallions adorning the rim of the drum and separating the inscription. It is surrounded by a pattern in the form of spirals of leafy motifs. The six-pointed star with the rosettes inserted into each other is located at the bottom of the drum, in its center. Thus, in this monument, which belongs to a royal person, we see the same complex of ornament motifs as in the hat. Given that this item belonged to the Mamluk-Kipchak nobility, one can make the assumption that the above-mentioned ornamental motifs were characteristic of items belonging to the Kipchaks, responding to the tastes of the nomadic elite of the Golden Horde society.
The motifs of the lotus flower are found in the Central Asian, as well as in the Bulgarian, art of the Golden Horde time. Findings of gold kolts with a scanned openwork pattern from the city of Bulgar in the form of a lotus flower are the closest analogy of this motif in the decoration of the cap, as well as the image of the lotus on the architectural tiles found in the Bulgarians. The same applies to the motif of the six-pointed star, which has found application in the ornamentation of architectural monuments of the town of Bolgar (Khanak “Black Chamber”) and Bulgarian stone tombstones of the XIII – XIV centuries.
Six-pointed star motif
The motif of the flower rosette in the characteristic interpretation of the cap is inherent in the Bulgarian metal of both the pre-Mongolian and Golden Horde times.
According to our research, the Monomakh's cap, before reaching the Russian princes, was female and belonged to a noble Tatar person.
The proof of this is, firstly, the pendants that existed before (S. Herberstein's testimony), which were typical for women's hats of the Turkic peoples, and secondly, the similarity in details with women's head ornaments from the Simferopol treasure. One of them consisted of 19 shaped plaques sewn onto a once-existing fabric base, and was decorated, like the Monomakh's cap, with pearls, as well as sapphires, amethysts, and emeralds. And the pearls, as well as on the cap, have an identical fastening with a gold “stud” in the middle. The similarities in the tops of Simferopol headwear and hats were mentioned earlier.
Ibn Battuta, an Arab traveler who visited the cities of the Golden Horde, reports that "noble Tatar women at the top of their caps wore a golden circle decorated with peacock feathers and studded with precious stones." Spanish ambassador Rui Gonzales de Clavijo, who visited Timur’s headquarters, left a description of the headdress of the senior queen - Sarai - Mulk-xanum. It was a kind of high helmet, beautifully decorated with various gems, over which there was exactly a “little arbor” with three rubies, from where the white sultan came, whose feathers were tied with a gold thread with a bird feather brush, with stones and pearls on the end. The description of this top is reminiscent of the completion of the cap. It is noteworthy that the reverse sides of the plates - medallions of Simferopol headwear were also decorated with lotus images.
The cap with pendants or in the form of a truncated cone of a hemispherical shape corresponds to the shape of the Turkic headgear, known among the Tatars under the name takyya, and among Turkmen - tahya. Such a form is also found in other peoples of the Volga region - the Udmurts, the Chuvash, the Bashkirs, in whom it also bears the name takyi or humpu. The similar form of the headdress, with sewn-on coins and a silver dome fixed on its top, was known to the Nogais as a girl's cap - takyya.
The main adornment of the Takhi Turkmen was the Kupba - silver pommel in the shape of a cupola with a tube sticking up in the middle and silver pendants. Turkmen women wore this headgear before marriage and replacing it with women's headgear. The owl or owl feathers were inserted into the tube of the kupba.
If there were no feathers in the girl's hat, it meant that the girl was caught. According to researchers, the custom of decorating hats with feathers of owls and eagle owls, also known to Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, semi-nomadic Uzbeks, is associated with the Kipchak ethnic stratum of these peoples.
Women’s hats with a pointed shape are also associated with the influence of the Kipchak fashion, with a moon cap on the top of the rod and pear-shaped pendants on chains from the excavations of the Belorechensk kurgans in the North Caucasus. Researchers attribute them to the XIV – XVI centuries.
Thus, the tradition to complete women's headdresses with tops with rods into which birds or lunitsa feathers were inserted is associated with Kipchak influence, although the appearance of the headdress in the form of a hemispherical cap with plaques or coins sewn to it along its bottom edge belongs to the ancient Sarmatian-Alanian or Scythian-Sarmatian (according to Tolstov) culture. This form was developed in the Saltov culture of the Volga Bulgars of the 10–12th centuries. and has been preserved in the ethnographic materials of the Volga-Ural peoples - Tatar-Mishars, Chuvash, Udmurts, Bashkirs, Nogai Tatars, as well as among individual Turkmen tribes. The cap form is an example of the synthesis of elements of the Saltov (Bulgarian-Alanian) and Kipchak Golden Horde culture on the vast territory of the Golden Horde, which is reflected in the representative clothes of the social elite, which brought new tastes and fashion to the costume and decorations of the settled agricultural population of the cities of the Volga region, the North Caucasus and the Crimea.
The Russian princes had a hat, most likely, as a result of the consolidation of the marriage union with a representative of a noble Tatar family. At least two lines of kinship between the great Russian princes and the Golden Horde khans are known. In 1260 – 1270-ies. Prince Feodor, nicknamed Cherny, the son of Rostislav Mstislavovich - the grandson of Vladimir Monomakh, was in the Horde and married after the death of his wife - the Yaroslavl princess - to the Khan’s daughter, had two sons from her - David and Constantine. The son of David Fedorovich - Prince Vasily of Yaroslavl - was married to the daughter of Ivan Kalita. Thus, the genealogical connection with Vladimir Monomakh existed through the son-in-law, who was the grandson of the great-grandson of the latter. The version of the origin of the cap could arise along this line, if she, having inherited Vasily from her mother, through his wife, fell to Kalita. However, the relationship of Ivan Kalita with his son-in-law was hostile; the latter acted in concert with the Prince of Tver, helping him in the Horde, for which the Grand Duke of Moscow devastated the lands of Tver and, moreover, the son-in-law survived his father-in-law.
The version that the hat was inherited by Ivan Kalita after the death of his brother, Prince Yury Danilovich of Moscow, seems to be more reliable. He was married to Konchak (in the baptism of Agathias) - the sister of the Tatar khan Uzbek. Yuri of Moscow lived in the Horde, "he knew how to get close to the khan family and married his sister, Konchak ... Khan's son-in-law returned to Russia with strong Tatar ambassadors." Konchak died in Tver in 1317, being captured by Prince of Tver, Michael, where she was poisoned. Yuri Danilovich was killed later, in 1325, by Prince of Tver Dmitri Mikhailovich, who, in order to justify himself, told Khan Uzbek that Yuri was collecting tribute and keeping it at home. The heir of Yuri Danilovich, since he had no children, could only be his brother - Ivan Danilovich - Kalita.
Thus, the assumption, first expressed by G. Vernadsky, that the Monomakh's hat belonged to Khan Uzbek, has sufficiently weighty grounds. Unfortunately, the researchers ignored the form of the cap and the tradition of its decoration, did not attract the archaeological and ethnographic materials of the Türkic peoples of the Volga region. The myth of the so-called Monomakh's cap can be dispelled by passionless arguments and facts, and one thing is indisputable - it is the property of the Golden Horde - the once great state.