Updated on: 11th Jun 2020
Origin: Russian Federation
Set of: 28

Large Kovsh

Large Kovsh Attribution ShareAlike CC BY-SA-4.0SourceKhalili Collections

The kovsh is contained in its original fitted wood case, with a plaque engraved with facsimile signatures and the presentation inscription that translates: ‘To Ivan Olegovich Ol’sen from employees of the firm of the Nobel Brothers, May 1908’. Further, the handle of the kovsh has been applied with the Cyrillic cipher ‘IO’. Ivan Ol’sen was the son-in-law of Ludwig Nobel. Nobel Brothers had major interests in the oil, chemicals, transport and manufacturing industries in Russia. Just prior to the Revolution they employed nearly fifty thousand people and produced a third of all Russian crude oil. One member of the family, Emanuel Nobel, was an important patron of Fabergé. From 1887 Feodor Rückert had an arrangement with Carl Fabergé to supply filigree enamel. As it was not an exclusive contract he also sold his work to others, including Kurlyukov and Ovchinnikov in Moscow and Marshak in Kiev. Objects retailed by Fabergé bear Rückert’s maker’s mark together with the Fabergé house mark, the latter often struck almost to obliterate the former. With these went a set of scratched numerals, the inventory number used by Fabergé as a stock record. Both the marks and the scratched numerals are clearly visible on the present piece. This kovsh marks the transition between Rückert’s earlier style, and his later work, an individual interpretation of the neo-Rusian style (see RUS 808). The form of the handle relates to traditional wooden objects, collections of which were to be seen at the influential artists’ colonies of Abramtsevo and Talashkino. At the same time the treatment of the foliate motifs has become more angular, most probably as a response to the stylisation of nature currently favoured by many exponents of European Art Nouveau. Instead of the pastel shades he had initially favoured, Rückert has developed a palette that includes black and an array of dark colours. Finally, the filigree wire is used not only to separate the different colours, but also to form spiralling roundels that perform a purely decorative purpose. Silver-gilt, opaque and painted filigree enamel, cabochon amethysts. Period 1899-1908

Vasilli Matveev Kunkin Drinking Bowl (Kovsh) Walters 57799

Vasilli Matveev Kunkin Drinking Bowl (Kovsh) Walters 57799 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Artist Vasilli Matveev Kunkin (1726–1761). Parcel gilt on silver "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. Date: 1758 (Early Modern)

Footed Kovsh

Footed Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This kovsh can be distinguished by its high foot and curved flat handle. Set in front, above the prow, is a vertical foliate member. The body of the kovsh is decorated with four rather restrained, symmetrical patterns of Usolsk-type blossoms and foliage in pink, violet, brownish orange, and pale blue and green filigree enamel. These emanate from a blue quatrefoils superimposed on a creamy white background. Separating the floral motifs are more of the smaller blue quatrefoils with three pendant bell flowers. Vine patterns extend overall. Recessed dots are amply used in the vine filigree and what appear to be grape bunch patterns. Around the kovsh's rim extends a band of Usolsk-type motifs on an olive green background. Rows of abstract floral motifs and diamond shapes circumscribe the top and bottom of the foot. The handle is supported by an interlace member in blue, green, and orange filigree enamel. Its upper surface is decorated with a cloudberry-like seed pod and a large blue flower with four plain recessed petals. Four orange and eight green cabochon stones have been mounted on the exterior. Created by Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917)

Kovsh with Banqueting Scene

Kovsh with Banqueting Scene CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The source for this scene has yet to be identified. A regal figure, seated on an elaborate chair, and several of his bearded companions, are being attended by three servants. One of whom holds a gold chalice with a double-headed eagle on its lid, a second is waiting in the background, and a third prostrates himself at the table delivering a tray and bottle. Placed on the table, which is covered with a cloth embroidered in red with double-headed eagles and pine trees, are a couple of beakers. Beyond the tent, extends a desert landscape suggesting an eastern locale. The miniature is framed in black enamel adorned with tree and mushroom shapes and wire spirals. The remainder of the kovsh's exterior is covered by large cloud berry blossoms in white with brownish edges and checkerboard centers in gray over black circumscribed by a row of triangles in turquoise. Other motifs include trees, spirals, triangles, checkerboard patterns and circles. The treatment of the handle differs in that its edges are decorated with triangular shapes and circles in raised filigree enamel over a plain gilt ground. Creator: Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920). Silver gilding, painted matte and filigree enamel

Kovsh

Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This vessel was produced in St. Petersburg in Julius A. Rappoport's independent workshop, which served as Fabergé's major supplier of silver wares in that city. The shop was located on the Ekatariniski Canal in St. Petersburg. The interior of the kovsh has been left plain whereas its exterior and the top of its handle are en plein enameled in ruby red over a guilloché silver surface. Nicholas II's monogram, enclosed within silver vine and strapwork, has been applied to the prow end of the kovsh. The upper surface of the handle has similar decoration. A large, circular, creamy orange stone and three smaller, whitish green triangular stones are set in the face of the handle. Creator: Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920). Silver, en plein enamel over a guilloché ground, cabochon stones

Kovsh with Imperial Eagle

Kovsh with Imperial Eagle CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This kovsh (ceremonial cup) is carved from an unusually large piece of nephrite, a type of jade. The underside of the handle is inscribed May 6, 1911. In the old style (Julian) calendar, May 6 was Nicholas II’s birth date, and the kovsh therefore might have been intended as a presentation gift to celebrate the tsar’s 43rd birthday, although the marks on the metal show that it was made years earlier. Nephrite, silver, gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds

Kovsh 2

Kovsh 2 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This utensil is in the form of a kovsh, a boat-shaped drinking vessel. Both the spout in the shape of a monstrous bat with spreading wings and the handle terminating in a bust of a Kazan warrior have been cast in silver. The border of interlace is studded with cabochon rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and moonstones. Creator: House of Fabergé (Russian, est. 1842). Silver (84 zolotnik), rubies, sapphires, emeralds, moonstones

Kovsh 3

Kovsh 3 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

At one end of the kovsh is a lip for pouring and at the other, a flat, horizontal handle. The exterior is enameled in a rich violet. A pair of juxtaposed blossoms appears under the lip and beneath the handle. They are in painted enamel in white, yellow, and blue. The remaining decoration is composed of tendrils and blossoms in green, red, yellow, and blue enamel. Creator: Maria V. Semenova (Russian, active 1896-1905). Silver gilding, filigree and painted enamel

Drinking Bowl (Kovsh)

Drinking Bowl (Kovsh) CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

A boat-shaped vessel used for ladling the "kwass" (strong beer) out of big bowls. In the center of the interior is an engraved double-headed eagle. Similar eagles are depicted in relief on the handle and on the finial. The kovsh was given toward the end of the 17th century to a bailiff of Orel by Peter the Great. Late 17th century. Silver, parcel gilt

Swan Kovsh

Swan Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The swan's head and neck are rendered in red and green gold with exceptional attention being given to the delineation of the feathers and their veins. Its tail, which serves as the handle for this thinly carved nephrite kovsh, is also in gold and is reeded and wrapped around a Russian five-ruble coin bearing the likeness of Nicholas II. The inscription on its face reads in Cyrillic: His Imperial Majesty Nicholas Emperor, Autocrat of Russia, By the Grace of God and on its reverse, in Cyrillic: Five Rubles 1898. Although the insertion of coins into the surfaces of silver vessels can be traced to the 17th century, if not earlier, Fabergé has elaborated on the practice by applying a bright strawberry red, en plein enamel to the background of the image. Creator: Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920). Nephrite, quatre-couleur gold, enamel, rubies

Kovsh 4

Kovsh 4 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Kovsh 4

Kovsh Two Women

Kovsh Two Women CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Within a cartouche on the front face of the kovsh is a scene painted in matte enamel portraying an older boyarina counseling a younger woman who is seated on a bench. The women's' lavish costumes and jewelry as well as the brocaded fabric on the background wall are indicative of their social status. Although the nature of the subject is in keeping with Konstantin Makovskii's matrimonial paintings, the actual source for this composition has not been identified. The sides of the kovsh are decorated with Rückert's characteristic motifs: triangles, spirals, trees, and abstract circular blossoms in his late muted colors: grayish blue, green, white and brown. The handle's angular shape may have been inspired by an early wooden kovsh. Its decoration adheres to the same color schemes and patterns used in the bowl although handle's upper and lower edges are executed in raised filigree enamel over a stippled gilt ground. Style of Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917) (Artist) Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) (Manufacturer). Silver gilt, painted matte and filigree enamel

Bird shaped Kovsh

Bird shaped Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The Danish-born, Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Alexander III, presented this kovsh to a Danish medical doctor, Jens Schou. This vessel resembles a duck with its stylized, angular tail serving as the handle. The decoration is composed of tendrils and fruit in pastel colors over a cream ground. Cabochon amethysts serve both for the bird's eyes and as additional decoration on the handle. Creator: Pavel Ovchinnikov (Russian, 1830 - 1888). Silver gilding, painted filigree enamel, amethysts

Kovsh 5

Kovsh 5 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Khlebnikov has whimsically interpreted the Russian folk tale of the Invisible City of Kitezh. Legend has it that the city submerged itself in a lake to avoid capture by the Mongols during the 13th century. Old Believers, in particular, members of the schismatic group which broke with the Russian Church in 1666, claimed that the site was Lake Svetloyar, near Nizhni Novgorod. As late as 1903, worshippers still gathered on its shore to sing ancient chants. Discernible on the bowl, in violet, blue, brown, and red enamel, is a teremok, the tall residence in which women were sequestered in an upper level during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is connected by a gallery to another building. Filigree spirals over a pale green surface indicate the enveloping waters. Dominating the handle is a Sirin perched on a flowering tree. These mythical creatures, with the head and breasts of a woman and the body of a bird, were found as early as the 9th century on Kievan enameled pendants known as kolty. As in this instance, they were depicted wearing crowns. Nikolai Rimskii-Kossakov's opera, "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Feroniya," first presented in 1909, attests to the popularity of the legend in the early 20th century. Creator: Ivan Khlebnikov (Russian, active 1870-1917). Silver gilt, filigree and painted enamel

Kovsh 6

Kovsh 6 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This kovsh is restrained in design and decoration. The exterior is enameled in a green and pearly white fish-scale pattern with each scale engraved to delineate veins. Its border is mounted with three circular amethysts set on silver squares. On the upper surface of the handle, a symmetrical pattern of silver leaves and vines has been applied to the translucent green enamel over a guilloché surface. A large oval amethyst with framed with white enamel ovals is mounted on the handle. Creators: Workshop of Anders Nevalainen (Finnish, 1858-1933) (Workmaster) House of Fabergé (Russian, est. 1842) (Manufacturer). Silver, translucent, en plein enamel over a guilloché ground, amethysts and garnet

Drinking Bowl (Kovsh) 2

Drinking Bowl (Kovsh) 2 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This kovsh, or drinking bowl, is engraved with the bust of Peter the Great in armor, and the base includes a repoussé double-headed eagle, symbol of the Russian Empire. The kovsh was presented to a commander of Cossack soldiers who was instrumental in uniting nomadic tribes at the outer reaches of the empire. Gilding highlights the important features of the drinking bowl: the inscription and heraldic devices. Silver, partially gilded, 1712 (Early Modern)

Kovsh with Miniature The Boyar

Kovsh with Miniature The Boyar CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Painted in matte enamel in a cartouche on the kovsh's "prow" is a boyar leaning backwards with his hands resting on the pummel of his cane. The immediate source for this composition has been identified as Konstantin Makovskii's The Boyar (1913), which was reproduced on the cover of Sol'ntse Rossii (The Sun of Russia) in March that year. Ultimately, the image is derived from the image of the old boyar, the central figure in Konstantin Makovskii's The Boyar Wedding Feast in the Seventeenth Century (1883), now in the Hillwood Museum, Washington, D.C. An identical miniature painting is found on a slightly later Fabergé box bearing the inventory number 391831 in the Hillwood Museum (15.209). The Russian revival patterns of blossoms and geometric shapes are executed in blue, green, brown, red, black, and white painted filigree enamel against an opaque, light gray ground. Two exceptions, however, are the upper edge and end of the handle which is in painted filigree enamel over a gilt stippled ground. The numerous spirals and dots in wire filigree are associated with Rückert's productions. Condition: The enamel on the handle shows signs of deterioration and repairs. Creators: Style of Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917) (Artist) Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) (Manufacturer). Silver gilt, painted filigree and matte enamel, period 1908-1917.

Two Handled Kovsh

Two Handled Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This type of two handled kovsh (often used as a serving bowl), like the single-handled variety, was made in wood in northern Russia and throughout the Scandinavian countries. Such a large object was surely made as a presentation piece. The sides of this kovsh have enameled panels imitating lobes of the kind found on many silver bowls. Each contains a stylized floral design in multi-colored enamel. Vari-colored cabochon stones are set in the floral ornament forming the border. The two handles with amethysts set in them are supported by winged cockerels. Creator: Pavel Ovchinnikov (Russian, 1830 - 1888). Silver, filigree enamel, cabochon hardstones (including amethysts), period 1908-1917.

Kovsh 7

Kovsh 7 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Both faces of the plique-à-jour kovsh incorporate oval images of a swan in an aquatic setting flanked by large blossoms in blue, red, and violet enamel. The background throughout is in a light yellow color. Beneath the handle and prow are bands of stylized dark and light blue floral motifs with red leaves. The bottom of the kovsh is occupied by a red crayfish, enclosed in a blue background in plique-à-jour enamel. Bordering the kovsh's rim is a band of light blue circles alternating with pairs of raised silver dots. The silver gilding handle bears raised, opaque vegetal motifs in dark and light blue, green, violet, white and red filigree enamel. The kovsh's "prow" and foot are in plain silver gilding. Creator: Pavel Ovchinnikov (Russian, 1830 - 1888). Silver gilding, plique-à-jour and painted filigree enamel. Period 1909-1917

Kovsh 8

Kovsh 8 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The kovsh is lobed within its interior and around the exterior extends a six-part arcade supported by colonettes. On one side, under the central arch, the cracked Tsar Bell on the Kremlin grounds is painted en grisaille and, on the reverse, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is depicted with the Great Stone Bridge in the foreground and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the distance. On the prow and handle ends, two smaller arched ovals are decorated with Usolsk-type blossoms over a white field. Three cabochon amethysts and one citrine have been set on the prow and two citrines are applied near the handle. There is only one amethyst on the handle. A distinctive feature is the handle marbleized green, blue, white and orange patterns is this kovsh's most distinctive feature. Creator: attributed to Pavel Ovchinnikov (Russian, 1830 - 1888). Silver gilding, painted filigree enamel, yellow and purple cabochon stones. Period 1899-1908

Kovsh 9

Kovsh 9 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

This vessel was produced in St. Petersburg in Julius A. Rappoport's independent workshop, which served as Fabergé's major supplier of silver wares in that city. The shop was located on the Ekatariniski Canal in St. Petersburg. The interior of the kovsh has been left plain whereas its exterior and the top of its handle are en plein enameled in ruby red over a guilloché silver surface. Nicholas II's monogram, enclosed within silver vine and strapwork, has been applied to the prow end of the kovsh. The upper surface of the handle has similar decoration. A large, circular, creamy orange stone and three smaller, whitish green triangular stones are set in the face of the handle. Creators: Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) (Artist) Workshop of Julius Alexandrovich Rappoport (1851-1909) (Workshop). Silver, en plein enamel over a guilloché ground, cabochon stones. Period before 1896 (?)

Kovsh 10

Kovsh 10 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Pinned to the kovsh's interior is an oval medallion enclosed in a green neoclassical border. Portrayed against a white ground is a black Imperial Russian eagle with translucent red crowns and a yellow orb and scepter. Translucent enamel is also used for the red crest bearing the monogram of Peter I. The kokoshnik-shaped handle is decorated with strapwork, blossoms, and vines in opaque green, white black and translucent red enamel raised over a stippled gilt ground. On the exterior of the bowl, the enameling is limited to a border of green circles and some formal strapwork enclosing stylized blossoms in blue, red, green, and black over a white ground. Creator Grachev Brothers (Artist) Silver gilt, opaque filigree enamel. Period 1899-1903

Kovsh with Sirin

Kovsh with Sirin CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

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. Creator: Orest Fedorovich Kurliukov. Silver gilt, cloisonné and filigree enamel, cabochon hardstones. Period 1908-1917

Sandpiper Kovsh

Sandpiper Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The kovsh is formed as a sandpiper with its head as the prow and its tail serving as the handle. Its beak, head, and neck are decorated with abstract floral motifs in orange, green, violet, and pale blue over a pale mauve ground. Small garnets suggest the eyes. On the body, there are eight oval shapes with schematized blossoms. Creator Sixth Moscow Artel. Silver gilding, painted and filigree enamel, cabochon garnets. Period 1908-1917

Marriage Kovsh

Marriage Kovsh CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Two reserves are painted in glossy filigree enamel on this large, vibrantly colored kovsh. One shows a wedding feast in which the bride, identified by her kokoshnik, is seated at a table with the groom and four other diners while a servant serves a swan. In the other, the future husband and his parents meet the bride and her family. The execution of both scenes in this early work appears somewhat gauche given the overall quality of the floral enameling. On the vessel's exterior and the baroque-styled handle, there are multi-colored, Usolsk-type blossoms in painted filigree enamel against a deep red background. Beneath the kovsh's "prow' appears a crowned, double-headed eagle, and, flanking the base of the handle, two warriors are mounted on winged steeds. A rosette is encircled by double-headed eagles alternating with stylized floral motifs on a plain gilt ground is positioned in the center of the interior. Creator: Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917) (Artist). Silver gilding, painted filigree enamel. Period 1880s

Kovsh with a Mounted Warrior

Kovsh with a Mounted Warrior CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

A mounted warrior holdng a bow and quiver of arrows appears in an oval reserve in the center of the kovsh. His shield bears the Russian double-headed, crowned eagle. Behind, a cloudy sky is partially illuminated by the setting sun. Bordering this central scene are four lozenge-shapes containing wire filigree "feathers" over a blue ground. Both the kovsh's walls and flat, horizontal handle are decorated with large, chrysanthemum blossoms connected by ribbon-like scrolls in translucent blue and green enamel over a pale green ground. The kovsh's top edge, as well as its foot, is bordered by foliate patterns in blue and orange translucent enamel together with yellow and orange motifs and blossoms. Dispersed across the ground of the kovsh, overall, are loose spirals in brown filigree, tightly wound, silver-gilt filigree spirals, as well as orange enamel circles, some of which have crossed, hatch marks. A circular, open-work frame enclosing a griffin is mounted on the kovsh's prow. Creator: Fedor Ivanovich Rückert (Russian, 1840-1917) (Artist). Silver gilding, painted filigree and transluscent enamel. Period 1908-1917

Kovsh 14

Kovsh 14 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

Apart from the handle and the spout's sides, which are in filigree enamel over an olive-green ground, Khlebinikov has reverted to the use of Usolsk-type blossoms painted against an opaque white ground. The foot is in silver gilt. Creator: Ivan Khlebnikov (Russian, active 1870-1917). Silver gilt, painted and opaque filigree enamel. Period 1908-1917

Kovsh 15

Kovsh 15 CCO 1.0 - Public DomainSource Walters Art Museum

The entire exterior of this hen-shaped kovsh is enameled in both abstract and schematized floral patterns in painted, opaque filigree enamel. In the lower portion, they include oval and boteh-shaped blossoms in pink and purple over a creamy white ground. Above, the more abstract decoration is in turquoise, olive green, and black enamel. Lavish use is made of patterns of strands of filigree wire terminating in raised silver gilt pellets. Encircling the bottom of the kovsh, just above the foot, there are two rows of wire spirals, one against a blue ground and the other over an olive green ground. Creator: Pavel Ovchinnikov (Russian, 1830 - 1888) . Silver gilding, painted and opaque filigree enamel, various hardstones. Period 1899-1908