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Russian

Kovsh 1737

RCIN 46036

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A large oval kovsh, partly gilt (inside the bowl and on the top of the handle), the angled handle cast with an Imperial crown and a medallion of an Imperial eagle (patinated). The bowl is embossed with an Imperial eagle with laurel branches, within an oval reserve; the peak at the front of the bowl is mounted with a cast Imperial eagle. The bowl is engraved with cartouches containing inscriptions with foliate surrounds.

The Russian kovsh was originally a vessel for serving drink or acting as a ladle. The form, probably developed in Novgorod, was derived from a Viking ship or swimming bird and traditionally incorporated a deeply bowed outline to the bowl. By the late 17th century however the kovsh had become a purely ceremonial vessel for presentation to those who had rendered service to the state – often figures such as tax collectors or military retainers. They frequently include decorative motifs relating to the Tsar, therefore – an eagle cast into the base of the bowl, for example.
 
Struck with city mark of Moscow (1737), assayer's mark of Larion Artemiev (active 1734-43), and maker's mark, G.B.; inscribed in Russian, 'Alexander by the grace of God, Emperor and Autocrat of all Russia, granted this kovsh to Pavel, son of Krasnoshchekov, Ataman of the Cossacks' winter mission for his loyal services on 25th day of June 1805'.