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Napoleon in Dadiani Museum in Zugdidi, Georgia


Napoleon's phenomenon has no boundaries and timelimits. Though its almost 200 years since the Emperor died on a remote island in South Atlantic, his enigmatic personality fascinates people with an increasing power. Societiues and groups dedicated to the Emperor and his epoch are scattered all over the world. Georgia is not an exception, since there are many ties connecting this tiny country to France and its mighty Emperor. First, there was political ties that are demonstrated in King Solomon II letters to Napoleon. Second, there was (and is) a family connection. While in Italy, Salome Dadiani, daughter of the powerful family of Dadiani Princes of Samegrelo (principality in Eastern Georgia) met Napoleon's nephew, Aschill Murat (grandson of Caroline Bonaparte and Marshal Joachim Murat) and later married him. The couple moved to Georgia where their descendats live up to the present moment.

In 1839 David Dadiani founded his family museum,  that became Zugdidi Historical Museum and is located in Dadiani’s three palaces. The museum is one of the oldest museums in the Caucasian region. The museum currently possesses more than 41 000 items ranging from the second millenium BCE to the end of the XIX century CE. It stores items from the archeological expeditions in the ancient town of Archeopolis (II millennium BCE), including a golden mask (I millennium BCE) which is thought to have belonged to Ayeti, king of Colchis. There are also a golden icon of the Queen Tamar from XII century, the Bible manuscript of XIII century, as well as the painting fragment of the most celebrated Georgian poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin,” painted by Mamuka Tavakarashvili; Other exponats include examples of European knight armors from XV century,  collection of paintings and drawings of the European and Russian masters, and most important - private items of the Emperor Napoleon, that were presented by his sister Caroline to her grandchildren. Among the Napoleonic items, there is deathmask of the emperor dated 1833,  a Napoleonic library of several hundred volumes, private letters, and Napoleonic silver and chinaware.

Dadiani Mansion
The Zugdidi Historical Museum houses Dadiani Museum with Napoleonic exhibition.
 

Davit Dadiani
David Dadianim, Prince of Samegrelo, who founded the museum

 
interior of mansion
Interior of the Dadiani Palace is remarkable for its wood carving

 
 

Dadiani mansion interior

Detail of the ceiling with a unique wood carving.

Napoleon room
Napoleon room of the museum. In the middle you can see a stand with Napoleon's deathmask. On both sides of display you can see furnituregiven by Caroline Bonaparte-Murat to her grandchildren. There also several drawings that depict different moments of Napoleon's life.


Deathmask
Napoleon's Deathmask in Zugdidi (Georgia)
Deathmask on ST. Helena
Napoleon's Deathmask on St. Helena, where the Emperor died on 5 May 1821

 
napoleon room
On the right side of the deathmask, there is a tea table with a engraving of Napoleon's coronation by J.J. David. The picture on the wall depicts Napoleon by unknown artist. These iteams belonged to Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister and Marshal Joachim Murat's wife.

 

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