Can of beluga caviar

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Can of beluga caviar


With an economic value that far outweighs its relatively small physical characteristics and unassuming appearance, caviar is an item whose collection, consumption, and commodification has given it one of great historical, cultural, and geopolitical significance. Originating from the roe of sturgeon in the Caspian and Black Seas, different empires and states have controlled its production over time just as it has also been used symbolically throughout the decades to voice representations of both domestic and global perceptions of Russia and quintessential “Russianness.”


Jenna Louie

Source -- Sturgeon caviar, from the Russian Museum of Trade website




© All rights reserved. Museum of Trade 2008-12


Aluminum tins, holding between 2-9oz. of caviar in classic packaging


20-25 years are needed for a female sturgeon to mature and produce roe that can be turned into caviar.

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Arielle Rabinowitz

This essay nicely details the historical importance of Russian beluga caviar to the political, cultural, and social spheres of daily life. This Russian delicacy not only represents a source of food amongst the upper class but also a lifestyle of excess as highlighted recently in the shadow of the Sochi Olympics. Accordingly, beluga caviar provides a perception of Russianess which may have negative connotations. 

Michael Sanders

I find the use of caviar as both a way of expressing positive and negative connations to be an interesting contrast to what we in the US might use. If someone in the US were to make the comparison about paving a road with a material in the same way that the Sochi road was described, they would probably use gold or some other commodity--not food. But the Russian idea to use caviar as the comparison points to just how importantly they must value it, and the connotations it must have in their society.

Rena Wang

I found this history of how a food product became incredibly commodified to be fascinating and a bit curious.  It is so interesting how a food item can yield such different and controversial takes on opulence, lifestyle, and cultural "Russianness."  I especially thought it was interesting Andrey Logvin said about how caviar has now turned into a symbol of life being a success, as this represents a large gradient of objects and options in this collection to varying degrees.

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