Wooden & Silver Wine Drinking Vessel
length: 25cm, height: 10.5cm, weight: 331g
This unusual vessel of beautifully patinated wood with chased and engraved silver mounts was used at Georgian weddings and other important feasts in the Caucasus as a wine goblet. Wine was stored in the vessel and the long spout would have been held to the mouth and from which the wine was emitted.
The more typical examples of Georgian wine drinking vessels are shaped as flasks or vases. The type here is much rarer. One is on display in London’s Wallace Collection. Another is illustrated in
The Caucasian Peoples, (2001, p. 161).
The turned wooden body is decorated with numerous silver plaques. The main plaque on the top is chased with two deer-like creatures. The plaque across the bottom is chased with two winged birds in a similar formation. All the plaques are secured to the wood with spherical-headed silver pins.
The long spout or pouring arm is of silver sheet and it has been finely engraved with scrolling foliage. It features a prominent silver hook against which a finger rests whilst the vessel is in use and being uprighted. The mouth of the spout is embellished with a pierced silver frame through which a silver chain has been threaded.
In traditional Georgian society, each festival or feast had its own fixed, communal formula. The
tamada or toast-master was the lead figure. He was required to propose toasts for all present, following strict rules of precedence. He also announced when there would be music, singing and dancing. The tamada was usually elected from among the most eloquent present. Vessels such as this example would have been supplied at a feast or participants might have chosen to bring their own.
The vessel here has a superb patina and is in excellent condition without losses or repairs. It is a rare item of very fine quality.
The Caucasian Peoples, catalogue for an exhibition of the Russian Ethnographic Museum, staged at the Hessenhuis, Antwerp, Belgium, 2001.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 2810
to see a more conventional example of a Georgian-Caucasian wine vessel.