Description In 17th-century Russia, cups often carried moralizing maxims and images, thus urging one to drink with moderation. Here, the depiction of Samson and the accompanying versified inscription warn the cup's owner not to surrender to the wiles of immoral women. The painting on the underside probably depicts the fox and the crow from Aesop's Fables and has a similar message: as the harlot decieved Samson, so the fox decieved the crow with sweet talk, thus making him drop the cheese he held in his beak. Aesop's text was translated into Russian in 1700 but was probably known even before then through Western sources.
- Russian Enamels. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1996-1997.
Provenance Leon Grinberg ("A La Vieille Russie"), New York, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1952, by purchase.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Ороужïи тысiаща уста лвóва силою победитель стирáетъ / Внегдà Самψóнъ лстивне блоуднице крѣпость предавáеть / Увы iскóпаннымъ врагóмъ - крѣпость бывáетъ [Оружии тъсяща уста львова победитель стирает / Внегда Сампсон льстивне блуднице крепость предавает / Увы ископанным врагом - крепость бывает]; [Translation] Samson, who conquered the lion’s mouth with [his] might, loses a thousand weapons when he surrenders his strength to the wily harlot, [but] woe to the hidden enemy – [his] strength remains.
Credit Museum purchase, 1952
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