List Price £6,500
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This kovsch is crafted from silver gilt, an alloy composed of silver and gold, and extaordinary cloisonné enamel. The form of the kovsch is suggestive of a water bird, with the body of the bird serving as the bowl. This design is likely inspired by early wooden kovschs, which often took the form of waterfowl.
A striking feature of this kovsch is its elongated neck and beak, alongside a small tail, creating a striking and dynamic silhouette. The bird shape not only makes for an attractive piece but also serves a practical function, with the elongated neck acting as the handle and the bowl portion serving as the receptacle for liquids.
An array of cloisonné enamel decorates the kovsch, an intricate technique requiring the application of enamel color to a metal base, followed by firing and polishing. The result is a vibrant and mesmerizing array of compact and delicately designed floral arabesques and figurative floral compositions. The use of floral motifs is a nod to the Russian tradition of floral ornamentation, with the arabesque patterns adding an element of timeless elegance.
The soft, varied, colour palette of light blue, deep red, warm white, pin, green and beige, binds together elegantly, and immensely enhances the visual appeal of the piece, also linking it to the strong folklore culture of Russia.
A kovsch is an important symbol in Russian culture and history. Its roots extend back to the 10th century and initially, they were simple drinking vessels or ladles. Over time, they evolved to become a revered form of ceremonial gift, presented by tsars and nobility on important occasions. They were often embellished with intricate designs and made from precious materials, transforming them into true works of art. Notably, the word 'kovsch' itself is thought to be derived from the Old Slavic word for 'cup' or 'drinking vessel'.
Enhancing its opulence, this kovsch is dotted with silver pearls, a testament to the artisan's eye for detail and commitment to creating a visually stunning object. These pearls catch the light beautifully, adding to the overall grandeur of the piece and making it a truly magnificent work of art.
In its entirety, this silver gilt kovsch is not just a utilitarian object but a celebration of artistic mastery and an embodiment of cultural symbolism. It is a truly remarkable addition to any collection of Russian traditional pieces.
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