Friday Object Lesson #29: Cup of Sorrows

Today’s object is a ‘cup of sorrows’. Its name derives from the tragic events which occurred this week 119 years ago, on Khodynka Field in Moscow on 18 May 1896. In expectation of free food and drink and souvenirs, including commemorative mugs, a crowd of about 500,000 assembled at the field to celebrate the forthcoming coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. Rumours that there was a shortage of freebies and that the mugs contained gold coins set off a stampede, which left over 1,000 Muscovites dead. In light of the disaster, the mugs acquired the title ‘cups of sorrows’. The letters ‘N’ and ‘A’ under the crown on the cup stand for Nicholas and Alexandra.

cup of sorrow

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