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Made by: Unknown

On view in: Icon Room

About this object

While kovshi had earlier been used as ladles, drinking vessels, or serving bowls, in the eighteenth century they were given as gifts, often to tax collectors and leaders of military units for their loyal support of the empire. An inscription on this particular kovsh states that Peter the Great granted it to Mikhail Syreishikov, a liquor tax collector in Novgorod, for his exemplary work. In the mid-seventeenth century the tsar controlled a monopoly on all taverns serving vodka, mead, and beer. These taxes provided a substantial income for the crown, and tax collectors such as Syreishikov played a significant role in the Russian economy.

Typical of presentation kovshs in the 18th century, imperial double-headed eagles have been fashioned in the bottom interior, on the handle, and to the tip of this kovsh. The eagle in the bottom is defined in repousse and finely chased to create the appearance of realistic feathers. The cast eagle applied to the handle, which also has been separately cast, is framed by a cartouche, partly in openwork, and topped by a crown. Swags with fruit are engraved on the inside of the handle to extend the decoration into the bowl. The eagle on the tip of the kovsh is cast. There is an inscription in Old Russian script around the border and in four similar cartouches. The handle, the interior and the sides are fire gilt.

Object name:
Made from:
Silver gilt
Made in:
Moscow, Russia
Date made:
35.6 × 24.5 cm (14 × 9 5/8 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
INSCRIPTION In 1702 in December, the Great Lord, Tsar, and Grand Duke Petr Alekseevich, Autocrat of all Great and Small and White Russias, granted this kovsh to the Novgorodian Mikhail Syreishikov for his devotion when he was Burgomeister in the Liquor Tax Collection Department and who collected as against the preceding year (1700) the amount of 18 thousand 920 rubles, 20 altini, and 2 dengi.
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973