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tline3open  What is a kvosh?

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Author Topic:   What is a kvosh?

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 11-12-2005 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the purpose of a kvosh? They are often beautifully enamelled, but am not sure what they are used for. Any help well appreciated.

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Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 11-12-2005 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sazikov2000     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

An oval drinking vessel with side handle, similar to a ladle or "dipper". In old Russian handicrafts the kovsh was carved in wood, in the form of a swimming duck or goose whose head and bill constituted the handle. The kovsh made of metal appeared in Russia in the middle of the 14th century and the term kovsh also became established at about that time.

Kovshi of different sizes had varying uses. They were ladles, containers or drinking vessels. When the smaller size of kovsh was used as a drinking cup, of silver or gold, the drink was principally mead: wine was normally drunk from beakers.

Quite early on, special names came into use for the different sorts of kovsh. There were piti, drinking kovshi, one to each guest; vynosny, larger kovshi for several persons; khoromnye, which belonged to the Imperial Court and bore an appropriate inscription. But the most important and best-known form of kovshi were the zhalovannye, or presentation kovshi which from the 16th century onwards were given by tsars and emperors for services rendered. From the middle of the 19th century hardly an example is known, but with the growth of historicism in the latter half the kovsh as ornament enjoyed a special return to popularity. Kovshi were now for the most part richly decorated with cloisonné enamel: here Ovtschinnikov and Khlebnikov were the most important craftsmen. By the end of the 19th century the kovsh could be described as an object of historical curiosity which in its jumble of every style, even Art nouveau, and variety of materials conveys only a distant reminder of its original function.

I could show some interesting and helpful photos from my collection, but having always problems with the photo posting guidelines - I renounce.

Sazikov 2000

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iconnumber posted 11-12-2005 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No wonder I couldn't place a specific use for them! they seem to be used for almost anything smile

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Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-12-2005 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
(Added on November 13): Aah, the irony...

I had posted an informative translation of the Postnikova-Loseva passage on piece-types that are encountered in Russian silver work. That translation can be viewed at Пocyдa и Yбpaнcтвo Cтoлa. Only the thread's title and the original glossary terms are in Cyrillic Russian�The rest is in plain English, translated to the best of my rather undeveloped ability.

Additionally, I understand that many kovshi were made during the nationalist movement in Russia, that weren't intended at all to be used as the first kovshi. Many of the tiny kovshi, measuring only three or four inches in length, are actually salt cellars made in the form of the kovsh.

... I find that the word kovsh is very frequently misspelled so that the o and v are transposed... Don't know why that is, but I like to think it's by association with kvas, a very delicious drink, though not especially alcoholic.

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iconnumber posted 11-12-2005 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason for the misspelling may be that for English speakers the sequence vsh is hard to pronounce. Words from almost every language on earth are butchered in the US. There is a suburb of Chicago named Des Plaines, pronounced Dez Plainz.

Thank you for this enlightening discussion. And the link to the wonderful translation. Many thanks Sazikov.

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iconnumber posted 11-13-2005 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, Dale, thanks for the reply. Don't get me started on gross mispronunciations of French place-names... As a resident of New Orleans, it's found everywhere I go. The town of Belle Chasse (literally "Good hunting", I think) is pronounced by locals as "Bell Chase" though in French it should be more like "Bell Shass"... Though interestingly, Burgundy Street is pronounced locally with the accent on the second syllable, bur-GUN-dy, which is a little closer to the correct pronunciation of the French "bourgogne"... But then, after all that, you have to tangle with Louisiana Native American place-names like "Natchitoches"...

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