Russian Enamel

Miniature ladle

    Miniature ladle

    Russia, Moscow

    Last quarter of the 19th century

    Silver, semiprecious metal; enamel over filigree, painted enamel, filigree, gilding

    Height 7.0 cm; length 16.6 cm

    Marks: "VR"; "84"; Moscow city mark


    Boat-shaped miniature ladle, on a profiled circular tray, with shelf-like figured grip, with cast knobble on slightly necked-in spout. The ladle interior is decorated with a composition depicting two Sirin maiden birds placed on both sides of a flowerpot with fancy flowers (symbolising the tree of life). The images are placed on light yellow enamel background and are made in the enamel-over-filigree technique with painted finishing. The dipper crown is accentuated by filigree cord; the interior and exterior surface of the crown with a row of whte enamel on filigree rings. The dipper exterior is decorated with fancy flowers of enamel-over-filigree against light yellow background. Ornately shaped grip framed over the edge with filigree cord is ornamented with enamel-over-filigree grass pattern on light background. The tray is decorated with ornamental row of scallops with blue and turquoise enamel and a girdle of stylised pearl beads with white enamel.
    The enamel colour scheme is built on the combination of shades of light yellow, dark- and light-blue, pink-red, green and beige-brown tints.


    "Placing two birds on the sides of a tree, a branch, a stylised leaf is one of the most well-known symbolic compositions of Old Slavic pagan art. It was born by ancient legends of creation of the world. One of them has it that among endless water spaces that were the very beginning there was a tree. Two birds that nested there laid the foundation of the living on the earth. A tree, or the tree of life, became the symbol of all flesh, and the two birds guarding it - the symbol of the good and of domestic bliss. The sacred image as a whole meant life and well-being" (Quoted from: S.K. Zhegalova, S.G. Zhizhna, Z.P. Popova, Yu. S. Chernyakhovskaya. Gingerbread, spinning-wheel and the Sirin bird.