Three-Spouted Vessel Decorated with an Elephant from Turushevy


In the summer of 1927, a shepherd named Andrei and his grandson, Ivanko, found a hoard of silver vessels while searching for one of the village cows that went missing. Ivanko fell into a hole while walking along the edge of a forest near Turushevy (Турушевы). Turushevy, located along the right bank of the Kama River, was then called Turushevo (Турушево) and located in the Omutninskii County (Омутнинский Уезд) of the Viatka Governorate (Вятская Губерния) of the early Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In this hole, Ivanko found a large silver bucket holding four plates (decorated with a royal hunt, a story of Bahrām Gōr, a rosette, and a cross), two multi-spouted vessels (this one decorated with an elephant, and different animals), and two torcs (grivnas) (Shmidt 1933, 25; Bortvin 1935, 3-5; Trever and Lukonin 1987, 126). Ivanko and his grandfather decided to give their neighbors, the Shiriaevs, the vessels because they could not find their lost cow. Ivan and Mar’ ia Shiriaev utilized the vessels for several years: the bucket became a pot for boiling pelmeni, the multi-spouted vessel with an elephant held salt, the multi-spouted vessel with different animals held fat, and the dish with the cross joined the icon corner. They cut up the grivnas to make nails for hanging horse equipment (Trever and Lukonin 1987, 126; Bortvin 1935, 6). 

Some years later, the state land department’s housing proprietor noticed these vessels while in the village and notified the local museums, for which he was rewarded (Bortnin 1935, 7). State authorities then collected the vessels and took them to the Sverdlovsk Oblast’ Regional Museum in Ekaterinburg (then, the Ural Oblast’ State Museum in Sverdlovsk). The museum then transferred most of the items, including all four plates and the bucket, to the State Hermitage Museum in 1930. The multi-spouted vessel with different animals (and perhaps also that with the elephant?) was transferred later in 1935. The seven vessels from Turushevy are still in the State Hermitage Museum today.

The village of Turushevy is presently located in the Afanas’evskii District (Афанасьевский Район), Kirov Province/Oblast’ (Кировская Область), Russian Federation.

Technical Notes

silver with gilding / 8.4 cm diameter x 5.5 cm height

Major Eurasian Silver Publications

Darkevich, V. P. Khudozhestvennyi metall Vostoka VIII-XIII vv.: proizvedeniia vostochnoi torevtiki na territorii evropeiskoi chasti SSSR i Zaural’ia. Moscow: Nauka, 1976. [T. 17,1-2 № 8]

Marshak, B. I. Istoriia vostochnoi torevtiki III-XIII vv. i problemy kul’turnoi preemstvennosti. Saint Petersburg: Akademiia Issledovaniia Kul’tury, 2017. [ris. 111 (provenance incorrect)]

Marshak (Marschak), B. I. Silberschätze des Orients: Metallkunst des 3.-13. Jahrhunderts und Ihre Kontinuität. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann, 1986. [№ 111 (provenance incorrect)]

Additional Bibliography

Bortvin, N. N. “Po sledam vostochnykh karavanov.” Ural’skii Sledopyt 9/1935 (1935): 3-13.

Shmidt, A. V. “Raboty po istorii material’noi kul’tury Urala za 15 let.” Problemy istorii material’noi kul’tury 9-10 (1933): 25.

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