Vozdukh Sacramental Cloth Cover with the Head of Adam. In the Vestry of Ipatevskii Monastery. Kostroma


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Kostroma and photographed at the Trinity-Ipat’evskii Monastery. This photograph shows a richly embroidered vestment from the monastery treasury known as a palitsa (epigonation), which is worn as a symbol of high office by an Orthodox prelate. The palitsa, with tassels at the corners, was suspended from the waist and worn over the knee. This example has a scarlet velvet base framed with an embroidered pattern including mother of pearl. The elaborately embroidered center depicts the Instruments of the Passion of Christ, with the cross composed of small medallions delineated with miniature pearls. To the left is the Sacred Lance that pierced the side of Christ, and on the right is the reed with the Sacred Sponge that contained the vinegar offered to Christ on the Cross. At the bottom is the Skull of Adam, indicating Golgotha, where Christ was entombed. The instruments are identified by embroidered words. 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

Воздух с Адамовой головой. В ризнице Ипатьевск. монастыря. Костома

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: January 11, 2017