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A Russian gem-set gilded silver & cloisonné enamel charka, Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1874. Of traditional form, the circular bowl raised on spreading foot & with shaped handle, enameled with stylized flowers & foliate ornament in translucent red & opaque green enamel within lappet borders, the foot with a similar band of translucent red & navy blue, all against an unusual translucent amethyst ground, the handle applied with faceted gemstones including beryl & amethyst, the upper border with jewel-tone pastes in sapphire blue, emerald green, & purple, the underside with 91 standard.Length over handle: 3 1/4 in. (8.2 cm).
This richly decorated charka is a fascinating illustration of an important stage in the development of Russian enameling in general & the firm of Ovchinnikov in particular. The firm had only just succeeded in achieving a formula for a bright red translucent enamel & had debuted it to great acclaim at the 1873 International Exhibition in Vienna. The construction of this charka from silver of unusually high purity, as well as the new transparent red enamel, suggests that the jeweled charka was part of an important commission or larger group.
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