Niello & Silver-Gilt Carved Coconut Wine Flask or Goblet with Turquoise
height: 25.5cm, weight: 217g
Although in the form of a flask, this vessel was used at Georgian weddings and other important feasts as a goblet. As such, it was not intended to have a stopper. It comprises a coconut body which is carved with six panels showing Persian-inspired scenes including princes and birds, with silver mounts that are decorated with fine scrolling leaf designs in niello against a ring-mat ground.
A hollow, ‘S’-shaped silver and niello handle is attached to the thin neck and to the body. The niello silver foot is attached to the silver shoulder by means of six silver gilt straps that have been embellished with turquoise
The vessel has a long neck and a flared foot. The neck is decorated in niello with alternating floral bands reminiscent of Ottoman floral work as is the shoulder and the foot mount.
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. Goblets such as this example would have been supplied at a feast or participants might have chosen to bring their own.
similar goblets are illustrated in The Caucasian Peoples, catalogue for an exhibition of the Russian Ethnographic Museum, staged at the Hessenhuis, Antwerp, Belgium, 2001, p. 161.
UK art market.
Inventory no.: 1137
for a related example.