Description What is particularly unusual with this kovsh is the use of the cloisonné rather than the filigree technique in creating the image of the Sirin. That is to say, flat rather than twisted wires separate the fields of color and their edges are flush with the surface rather than rising above it. The mythological creature's face and her particularly elaborate crown, headdress, and collar have been painted with naturalistic detail. Her torso and extended wings are rendered with grayish white scrolls suggestive of plumage. At her feet is depicted a terem with a gilded onion dome and tower roofs in foiled translucent enamel. The sky is in graduated shades of blue and is dotted with patterns of turquoise squares and red circles. The remaining surfaces are decorated with formal designs in painted filigree over a silver gilt surface, which, in turn, has been worked in repoussé with raised patterns of bands, scrolls, and foliage. The decoration is characterized by the abundance of square and circular motifs; the use of foiled, translucent enamel, particularly in bright red segments juxtaposed against those in black; and the restrained abstract flowers. On the handle and the front lip there are also patterns of raised, silver gilt balls. Variously colored cabochon hardstones have been applied on either side of the bowl and on the handle.
Provenance Sotheby's, Geneva, May 15, 1986; Jean M. Riddell, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1986, by purchase [Leo Kaplan, New York, as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 2010, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Marks] On base in Cyrillic: O.Kurliukov; [Symbols] circular kokoshnik right, kokoshnik right, delta, 84; [Mark] On handle in Cyrillic: Okh; [Monogram] On back of kovsh: IS
Credit Bequest of Mrs. Jean M. Riddell, 2010
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