Name: Georgian wine vessel
Origin: Tiflis (
Date: Early 20th century
of Ethnography Russian Museum
Dimensions: 30 cm high
Materials: coconut shell, silver
According to religious rules, etiquette and aesthetics of the Georgian feast, traditional utensils had to decorate the table. As a result, the utensils had not only utilitarian functions but also served as symbols and ethnic markers. Among vessels for the festivity, table jugs played the most important role.
According to their functions, wine vessels are divided into two types: individual - for each participant of the feast, and common - for table decoration. Common vessels as a rule were of anthropomorphic form. This can be explained by the fact that ancient ancestors considered wine vessel to be the keeper of secrets of the Universe, receptacle of man's soul. Sura and doki were the most spread among this type of vessels.
Individual wine vessels were also of different forms. Some of them were very small: they were used in the beginning of the feast when wine was consumed in small portions. Such vessels are called chinchilla and made in the shape of a small jug with a capacity of a glass. Karkara - is a bigger metal jug with a bent neck consisting of three interlaced tubes. Tasi and piala are hemispherical vessels with or without a tem. Kula has an original shape -it is a wooden, set in silver vessel that has a closed semispherical body from which at right angle long narrow neck goes. Khantsi and dzhikhvi are the most famous Georgian wine vessels. They are made in the shape of a horn, decorated with silver trims with rich decorations. Horns with capacity of several liters were used for drinking wine in the middle of the feast when a man demonstrating his endurance completely drained the horn.
Ornamentation on the metal vessels was often made in the technique of engraving and chasing. Among the most popular motifs there were flowers, fruit, leaves of the creepers, birds in the trees, animals. Quite often one could find images of realistic scenes participants of which were celebrating, dancing and playing traditional musical instruments. As a rule such images were framed with medallions and vignettes.
© Photos and text: The Russian Museum of Ethnography