Gold, niello, precious stones Moscow. 1598
The gold censer is reminiscent of the architecture of 16th century single-domed churches in Moscow, in form. The twelve Apostles, executed in most delicate niello and incised design, adorn the lower part of the censer. One of the sides bears a representation of the patron saints of the royal family, standing in motionless postures. The censer was the gift of Tsarina Irina Godunova to the Kremlin Cathedral of the Archangel Michael. Its exceptional artistic value was appreciated even by contemporaries. The Patriarch issued a special ukaz which limited the use of the censer to high church and state occasions.