Kovsh, noun

Kovsh 2The Kovsh was a traditional Russian drinking vessel (or ladle), usually oval-shaped like a boat with a single handle and often shaped like a bird or a Norse longship. Originally, the Kovsh was made from wood and was used to serve and drink mead. Specimens were excavated from as early as the 10th century. A metal Kovsh began to appear around the 14th century, although it continued to be carved out of wood and was frequently brightly painted in peasant motifs. By the 17th century the Kovsh was more often than not used as an ornament rather than a practical vessel.

The Kovsh shown here was sold at a July 24, 2016 auction held by Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Mass. It was an item from the estate of the late Baroness Mary McFall de Gunzburg of New York City and Miami Beach. She was a huge fan of Russian silver pieces and this Kovsh hammered for $16,800 (including the buyer's premium). The 19th century Kovsh was marked “P. Ovchinkova” and showed two Vikings with armor. It was also marked “84” in Cyrillic. Also, a Russian enameled centerpiece from her collection, also marked “84,” made $13,500.