Zlatoust engraving on steel: technology, history

Zlatoust, a small town in the Chelyabinsk region with a population of less than two hundred thousand people. It is well known in the art of arms, art historians and collectors of edged weapons in many countries. The glory of the city brought a thin and elegant colored steel engraving, covering metal products of excellent quality. Tsars, General secretaries of the CPSU Central Committee and President of the Russian Federation as a great value given to their foreign friends, the products of the Ural masters.

Zlatoust engraving adorn the edged weapons and household interior and the everyday life – boxes, cigarette cases, Desk sets, engraving is very often used in the manufacture of cult objects-chalices, candlesticks, duronodic and salaries for icons. Medals, awards, sports trophies – also the fruit of the work of engravers.

melee weapons as a matter of prestige

Chrysostom – a city where you know a lot about swords.
a melee weapon designed to perform two tasks.
First – convenience when used for its intended purpose. This means that the metal needs to be sharpened and easy to change, long to retain its sharpness, to be resilient, strong, moderately flexible and non-rusting. The handle and scabbard – a separate article. In the best samples of the weapon handle has a rounded, repeating the anatomical structure of the wrist, and is like a natural extension of the hand. The sheath, respectively, a continuation of the blade. Properly designed and executed, they don't cling to your clothing, not too heavy, not tight and not fall. Length, form, bending, thickness plate – everything has a value.

Second – prestige. The looks of the blade, it is customary to judge the dignity of its owner. For this reason, the handle and sheath for the nobility are decorated with precious stones, gold and silver embossing, patterns and inscriptions.
Zlatoust knives today, as before, meet all the requirements of the standard. The famous award of the officer, the daggers still doing workshops in a small city in the Urals.

Manufacturer of Zlatoust blade

in the manufacture of any object of importance all stages. No exception and Zlatoust steel engraving. Production technology secret is not. In libraries you can find guides for all issues. The compositions of the metal alloys, the formulas of acids for etching and varnishes are also available. The art of printmaking is taught in Zlatoust branch of the Ural state University. Since 1996 anyone can enter the specialty «Technology artistic processing of materials".
However, the true high art – it's not only technique. No accident only a small part of the masters fall into the museums and receive awards at world competitions. Chrysostom can be proud of.

great Britain and Germany are proud of the collections of metal products, which created Zlatoust masters. What is the secret of such popularity? The fact that the local engravers mastered all techniques of working with metal and that embossing, and notching, and Glazunovka, and blackening and etching, and electroplating, and houseromani. With some time and added stone carving, because of the Ural semi-precious stones are very beautiful interior. Miniature engravings inlaid with stone, made with good taste and respect for traditions of antiquity, are always in demand. In addition, the history of printmaking is the history of a constantly evolving art form. From the very beginnings to the present, the Ural craftsmen never cease to learn. A Treasury of techniques of art processing of metals continues to grow.

Appearance fishing

In 1754 in the Urals, in the valley of the love river the Highest decree of His Imperial Majesty was commanded to build an iron factory. The town that grew up nearby, was named in honor of St. John Chrysostom.
For production, in 1815, from Germany, from the factory of Solingen, was invited by good engravers, father and son Safe, and after three years the Emperor was able to see the fruits of their work - the first batch of nineteen blades were delivered to the capital. Liked the work and received the highest approval.

Along with Safari and under their guidance, mastering new production of talented Ural craftsmen. Their names went down in history as the names of the founders of a style of art known as color steel engraving. Is Yefim and Ivan Bushuyev, Maxim, Feodor and Peter Aleinikova, Arkhip of Lepeshkov, Fedor Strizhev, Ivan Boyarshinov and others.
Safe the adherents of the old German traditions. They knew how to look perfect engraving. A description of the requirements to the standard would take more than one page. As a minimum, the drawing should resemble the best examples of Selenginsky masters - to be thin, flat and monochrome. Safe for a long time did not allow local to apply their ideas in practice. The patterns on the metal plate the Germans scratched with a needle. Acid etching was used only as the final stage of processing. German instruments are characterized by high hardness and fineness. The pictures turned out very fine and detailed. Stories in varying degrees repeated.

Germans lived separately in the village and did not seek close communication with the locals. They worked regularly, was friendly, but the work kept aloof and were very reluctant to share their knowledge.
Zlatoust engraving of the time easy to recognize on the subject of authorship. The picture posted on the scabbard and hilt. The lines are thin, petite, small, large focus on detail.

Features of the Russian style

Students, except for those drawings, I learned from Shatov, began to depict scenes of military and civilian life of his native country, mythological scenes - they were not afraid to show imagination and the choice of engraving technique. Mother nature and the animal world of the Urals was also reflected in their drawings. Russian masters have surpassed their teachers in many respects. They learned how to use etching to produce different colors and shades. Changing the composition of the acid and duration of the chemical reaction, they achieved amazing results. In their hands the Zlatoust knives turned into unique works of high art that is not ashamed to give as a gift, even the kings.


the Emergence of a unique artistic style usually associated with the name of Ivan Bushuyev. He grew up in a family of gunsmiths. He studied painting with fellow countrymen. The Ural steel making has long been engaged. Demidov factories melted ore, brewed his own damask steel used to make weapons. At the time of occurrence of the Zlatoust plant traditions of working with metal was perfectly formed. Ivan Bushuev – the most famous Zlatoust name. He was incredibly talented and hardworking. Uralsky master has connected knowledge and skills learned from fellow German style engraving. He was a genius at decorating. He forged the blades and put them on the drawings. His works are kept in the Armory the Moscow Kremlin. Pavel Bazhov has immortalized the name of the wizard in the tale of “Ivanko, krylatko”. The famous winged horse, a symbol of Zlatoust - a tribute of memory and respect.
Ivan Bushuyev had very fine sense of proportion, perfectly proportioned. His style is absolutely recognizable. Boshevski characters are not static, as the Germans. In its people, animals – the life, movement. Not by chance the coat of arms of Zlatoust – rushing towards the wind Golden winged horse. In the engravings of Ivan Bushuev often present the horse. At the turn of the head, the position of the body, legs, tail, even the ears is easy to determine that the animal feels is depicted by the artist. Not the angel Lee took the hand of the master, when he held the needle, protsarapyvajut nail Polish?

Fire gilding

with the creation of engraving Ivan Bushuev spared neither time nor effort. He even invented his method of jewelry items in gold.
Wizard knew the technology and knew how to do blades in all stages, starting with the first ore. He was led by the intricacies of the melting of the craft, he knew how to forge metal, to make varnishes and compounds for etching, but Ivan liked the art prints. He invented stories, drew them on paper, then reduced to the desired size, preparing a plate and put it on her drawing. Preparation for the engraving was careful polishing and applying lacquer. Then, using an oil torch or knife sheath covered by a layer of soot. Further, the subject clamped in a vise and draw the intended picture. If all turned out well and the plot fit into the narrow space of the product, then you can begin the most crucial part of the work. Applied to the blackened surface pattern master scratched with a needle, removing lacquer to metal. Then the gold was dissolved in mercury and put in a little suede pouch. Engrave the object heated to a very high temperature and the heated surface of the carrier this pouch. The mercury evaporated, and the liquid gold was upravljalci in metal. The cooled blade or the sheath Bushuev was purified from the lacquer. It is also a difficult operation. It is called etching. Depending on the composition of the acid on the metal remained a shade of a different color than metal-based.

mercury vapor released during heating, is very harmful for health. Few engravers hot on gold lived to forty years. Ivan Bushuev died in 1835. He was 37.

Famous works

Zlatoust masters are of great interest not only from the point of view of art, but as historical documents. There are two blade made in the first quarter of the 19th century. The cells are covered with miniature paintings depicting the stages of labor, prior to the appearance of the subject. This mining and metal melting, casting and forging, and engraving, and shipping the king, and the presentation of the hero. The blades are very similar. It is clear that they were doing masters of one school, but on one we see angelic kids, and on the other – ordinary adults. Vintage Zlatoust engraving - an antique that is valued very expensive, especially when you consider that at that time, the masters actively worked with gold, silver and precious stones. For the needs of the Royal family in the workshops of Zlatoust plant regularly ordered a variety of items, not only weapons. Grand Duke Alexander, the heir to the Russian throne, Ivan Bushuev with a group of friends made armor similar to medieval. This unique thing can be seen in one of the halls of local history Museum of Zlatoust.

Pavel Anosov

Engraving Chrysostom, as a national folk craft of Russia, owes much to the work of Pavel Petrovich Anosov. This man had a huge impact not only on the development and promotion of the unique art, but also in the development mining industry Ural. A talented person from a poor family, everything in life achieved by his own labor and talent, with no influential patrons and patronage.
Pavel Anosov was orphaned early, and took care of grandfather, who served as a mechanic at the Izhevsk and Votkinsk factories. That is why, having received a good education at the St. Petersburg cadet corps, Pavel Petrovich went to the Zlatoust mining district. He was the 22nd year. Starting with the most minor positions, having passed all stages of career ladder Anosov reached the post of chief of mining plants of Altai and Tomsk province Governor. He died at age 54 in a rank the General-the Governor of Tomsk. For a long life he managed to raise and develop the metallurgical industry on the territory entrusted to him. He was a mining engineer and chemist, investigated the nature of the Urals and made many discoveries relative to the location of underground mineral deposits.

In 1828, Pavel Petrovich Anosov, then head of the Zlatoust metallurgical plant, received from the Mining Ministry order to develop the steel, by background characteristics is not inferior to the best known up to that time, Damascus and Bulat. Task Araruna, because their secrets of the Eastern gunsmiths treasured for many centuries. However, after much research and experiments Pavel Petrovich and colleagues found a very successful formula of the alloy, which further glorified the plant, and at the same time and the whole of Russia. Russian Bulat Anosov went into the making of knives.
what did Pavel Petrovich, you can remember the following facts, describing him as a wonderful person and a good owner.
  • Anosov made the ban on mercury gilding because it is very harmful to health, and replaced it with electroplating.
  • He designed the machines that facilitate the work of the workers.
  • During his management work of the Zlatoust plant annually was provided for two paid holidays – one before Easter and the second in summer, during the harvest season.

  • Pavel Petrovich broke open schools for the children of workers. He set the allowance for boys under 12 and girls – to 18.
  • For his initiative work on the study of the properties of metals is conducted in an orderly manner, records of the results of research and experiments. To him the production of the metal for the blades was a matter of intuition and has been handed down from master to master orally. Pavel Anosov has written and edited several books on mining, including hardened metals, alloy steel and production of steel.
Bulat was good on all counts, and was not inferior to the best world standards. Dirks, staff of piercing-cutting weapons, axes, daggers and hunting knives from it so far are the subjects of high art. Their antique value exceeds hundred thousand roubles. Moire overflow Damascus beautiful as precious metal. Artists Anosov didn't even do paintings on it, only near the base. Abundant miniature decoration was applied to the handle and scabbard.
In 1847, ended the era of p. P. Anosov. He went to St. Petersburg with a collection of daggers, hunting knives, boxes, Cutlery with handles, inlaid with the Ural semi precious stones, mirrors and trays. Pavel Petrovich had hoped to show these things to senior officials and to get permission to expand production, but along the way got stuck in a snow storm. The wagon turned over, together with his companion crushed by heavy boxes and covered with snow. They remained some days at the mercy of brutal elements without hope of salvation. As a result, the Anosov seriously ill. He was never able to recover and in the spring of 1851 he died.

Pavel Matveevich Obukhov

Almost 15 years Zlatoust factories were left without competent leadership. In the mid-60s to the position of Manager has appointed Pavel Matveevich Obukhov. He managed to bring the company out of the crisis. Paul Matveyevich was from a family of hereditary miners. Received engineering education at the Saint Petersburg mining Institute, from which he graduated with honors, then trained in Germany and Belgium, has acquired good skills of Manager and organizer. In Zlatoust, he resumed the production process, resulted in the order left by Anosov extensive scientific legacy and continued his experiments on the alloying of steel. Paul Matveyevich credited for the creation of cast steel. She replaced the gun in the bronze, and now the Zlatoust metallurgical plant became a major supplier of firearms – guns and rifles.
Art workshops also are not idle. If Anosov in recent years, produced mainly Damascus steel and swords, the butts have expanded power to weapons added a large assortment of household items - boxes, cigarette cases, trays, Cutlery. By the way, Pavel Matveevich Obukhov entrusted to his care by the enterprise not only realized their own ideas for improving the work, but also developed and implemented ideas of Pavel Petrovich Anosov, preserved in the records.

Soviet period

After 1917 Zlatoust plant continued to work. Now cold arms were decorated with revolutionary themes and portraits of leaders of the Communist party. A place of refined classicism took the rough modern. The emphasis began to make the output of mass production. Was introduced the method of secography. The author's style has virtually disappeared. Colored engraving has grown in size and turned into panels. The products of the Zlatoust craftsmen began to decorate the walls of public institutions. New technology for the galvanic deposition of Nickel Zlatoust engraving has changed beyond recognition. The figures become less clear, blurred great emphasis on the play of light and shadow. This was not so much engraved as painting.
Seagrave was allowed to produce large quantities of identical panels. Artists transferred on them reproductions of popular paintings by well-known authors. Huge portraits of Lenin and Stalin adorn the facades of government agencies. For a while creative thinking was replaced by mechanical work.
In the 1960s revived interest in traditional crafts. Began to open up vocational and art school. Engraving Chrysostom received the impulse to new development. Young school graduates who received the education of artists, engravers, came to the plant and in plants producing household items, opened their talents. In those years, sounded the names of such great artists as G. Bersenev, A. Bogachev, N. Lokhtacheva, O. Averkin, etc.


Today, you can hear the opinion that for the last hundred years Zlatoust engraving as a kind of national decorative-applied art has lost its relevance. With this you do not want to accept. Zlatoustovsky engraving (the history of the famous fisheries confirms it) during the whole period of its existence is constantly changing. Initially, it was characterized by laconic shapes and realistic drawings, inherited from the Germans from Solingen, then Russian masters added gilding and other decorative techniques, enriched plots. Further, in the 20th century, engraving embraced the idea of popular art and the new modern styles.
First hundred years left us only a few names of prominent artists. Their work can be recognized by the handwriting – I. N. Bushuev painted miniatures on the theme of myths and military battles. I. P. Boyarshinov loved to work on hunting knives. He engraved them hunting scenes.
Over the next hundred years, the type of engraving on metal was varied as well as varied social life and human needs. What is called the kitsch and consumer goods, – a natural result of the victory of the proletarian revolution, which made the call all and is guaranteed to ensure every everything you need. The chase for mass and socialization of art has led to the fact that the decorative component of the Zlatoust engraving considerably impoverished. Currently, the art of engraving on metal, it regains a touch of elitism. Outstanding masters there is, but, as always, can be counted on the fingers. The present high art can't die, but it cannot stand still - it will always be a breeding ground to identify talented people and give birth to new art forms.