Aspergillums with Handles, an Artistic Work. In the Vestry of the Ipatevskii Monastery. Kostroma


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) returned to Kostroma, a town he had visited the year before, and did further work at the Trinity-Ipat’evskii Monastery. Founded as early as the late 13th century, the monastery flourished thanks to lavish gifts during the 16th century from the Godunov family, which produced Tsar Boris Godunov (1552–1605). The Godunovs considered the monastery to have been founded by their Tatar ancestor Murza Chet, who in 1330 left the Golden Horde for the court of Muscovite Prince Ivan Kalita. Seen here are two aspergillums, or holy water sprinklers (kropilo), donated by Ivan Andreevich Godunov and preserved in the monastery treasury. The sprinkling of water during services is practiced in a number of religions. These elaborately tooled silver examples were perhaps adapted from candlesticks. Often the aspeergillum had a hollow shaft that could be filled with water. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Кропила с ручками художественной работы. В ризнице Ипатьевскаго монастыря. Кострома

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: January 11, 2017