Saturday, April 20, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: A Russian Kovsh, 1909-1913

Silver Gilt, Enamel
The Royal Collection

A kovsh is a Russian drinking vessel with a single handle and a boat-shaped body. These vessels were often presented by the tsars as gifts to followers and favored subjects. Often made of precious metals and adorned with enamel and gemstones, these valuable objects were more for display than they were practical.

This kovsh is enameled en plein and depcits a scene of the Zaporozhye Cossacks (suggested by a painting by Ilya Repin). Created in the Moscow workshop of Feodor Rückert, the kovsh utilizes brilliantly hued cloisonné enameling. The vessel was distributed by Fabergé for import to England in 1913 and was purchased in London by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

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