March 2018


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 35 September 2011

Arts and crafts

Shvetsov Artem Yu.

Research supervisor: Professor N.P.Chuvargina, PhD (Architecture) Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts, Ekaterinburg, Russia


In contemporary art, one of the most significant directions is the art of creating cold steel. The contemporary weapons art of Russia is not so much a tribute to the historical traditions laid by masters in the past centuries in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Tula and Zlatoust as the desire to unravel a new idea in the established canonical form of the blades. Obvious practical achievements in this area make it necessary to expand and enrich its theoretical framework and systematize the material. Theoreticians and practicians often differ in their interpretations of the important question – what is the basic difference between decorated historical weapons and modern-day works of art? Which of these works should be qualified as cold weapon art?

In modern-day edged weapon design, functional features lose their priority and use becomes secondary, with general aesthetic perception, meaning and author's idea coming to the fore. Given this, it would be inappropriate to say about a work of authorship created today that is a "decorated" weapon. Decor increasingly often becomes an addition to the general design. Whereas in the past decoration was “attached” to the use, today it is the use that is "attached" to the artistic image as embodied in the product and is subordinated to the author’s general idea.

In a weapon designed and created by a concrete author, the theme, the plot and the craftsmanship depend on the artist only, on his skills and taste. Where the product is designed in a factory context, the author is fully dependent on employer, customer, and available technologies and equipment. The image and the realization of the idea in the product may be modified by a board of experts. Whether such interference with the author’s original idea gives a positive or a negative result would depend on certain nuances which are specific for each individual artist and each enterprise.

Contemporary technology makes mass production of a work of authorship a feasible project. Such possibility would depend on techniques chosen by the author for rendering a novel idea, and on factory’s potential for reproducing them in a mass-production context.

Contemporary cold weapon art and design in Russia needs theoretical distinctions in terminology. We propose to divide contemporary products into two basic groups or categories: 1) cold weapon artworks of authorship. 2) artistically decorated cold weapons. Given a critical approach to product consideration, weapons categorized as artworks of authorship may include not only a blade made by a master or by a team but also a product presented by a corporate manufacturer. Equally, a weapon made by one author may fail to fall into this category and rank among decorated products.

Key words: decorated cold weapons, contemporary weapon design, copyright knives, metal art of Russia

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-70832 of 30.08.2017 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017