Description "Kovshi" are boat-shaped bowls or ladles, originally made of wood, which can be traced back to the 14th century. This piece carries the double-headed eagle, state emblem of the Russian Empire. By the 18th century, large drinking bowls like this one were were no longer used as actual tableware but were rather awarded as gifts by the sovereign and proudly displayed at home by their recepients. The inscription notes that Empress Elizabeth I (1709-1762) presented this sumptuous example to the merchant Konan Saveschkov, who had been a contractor for the army since 1752.
Cleaned to remove aged acrylic coating and silver tarnish in preparation for exhibition.
Examined in preparation for exhibition.
- A Millennium of Christianity: Russian Art from The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989.
- Fabergé and the Russian Crafts Tradition: An Empire's Legacy . The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2017-2018.
Provenance Alexandre Polovtsoff (Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Polovtsov), St. Petersburg and Paris, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1928, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] In the cartouches: Б(о)жиею м(и)л(о)стию мы Елїсаветъ Первая їмператрица / ї самодержица / всероссиїская / ї прочая ї прочая ї прочая [on the sides] пожаловали мы симъ кофшем московского первої гилдиї коупца Конона Васильева с(ы)на Сабелщїкова за показанные от него при торгах в главном камисариате о порядке на нашу армию съ 1752 году на шесть лѣтъ вещеї в приращение нашего высочаишаго їнтереса устоупки ї чтобъ ѡнъ ї впредъ в поставке таковыхъ на армию вещеї к ползе нашего интереса ревность їмелъ; [Translation] We, Elizabeth the First by the grace of God empress and sovereign of all Russia, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, awarded with this "kovsh" the Moscow merchant of the first guild Konon, son of Basil Sabelshchikov, for the discounts he has been making for six years since 1752 to the advantage of our most high interest at the Main Commissariat auctions for the supplying of our army, and so that he may also in the future show zeal in providing such supplies for the army to the advantage of our interest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1928
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