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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. Societies and groups dedicated to the Napoleonic epoch are scattered all over the world and Georgia is not an exception, since there are a few ties connecting this tiny country to France and its Emperor. First, there was political connection that is demonstrated in King Solomon II letters to Napoleon. Second, several Georgian mamluks served with Napoleon throughout the period. Third, there was (and is) a family connection. In 1870s, while traveling in Italy, Princess Salome Dadiani, daughter of the powerful family of Dadiani of Samegrelo (principality in Western Georgia) met Napoleon's nephew, Achilles Murat (1847-1895, son of Lucien Murat, grandson of Caroline Bonaparte and Marshal Joachim Murat) and later married him in 1873. The couple moved to Georgia where their descendats live up to the present moment.

In 1839, David Dadiani founded his family museum, that later became Zugdidi Historical Museum 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 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)

 
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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