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Russian Samovars

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ANTIQUE RUSSIAN SAMOVARS

We offer a wide selection of of pre-reolutionairy Russian antique samovars that are becoming difficult to find due to restrictions for over 20 years on bringing them out of Russia.

First appearing in the eighteenth century as a teakettle with a chimney, the Russian samovar was fashioned, over many decades, into a host of forms, some preserving the classical shapes of eighteenth-century vases, others made with detachable legs to meet the needs of travelers who liked to take their tea in their carriages or on the train. The detailing on the samovar also changed over time- the tap and handles made in the shapes of twigs, dolphins, and curved abstract stalks. 

It is difficult to trace the exact originorigin, but in late 18th and early 19th centuries the Russian town of Tula which was the home of many metalworking shops became the center of samovar production. Typically created out of solid brass, ( but sometimes out of nickel-silver, or even sterling silver) and hand-pounded over a form, each samovar was a work of art produced one at a time. Most antique Russian samovars will have the metalsmith marks or the name of the workshop stamped onto the vessel, which can help identify the origin and age. Other stamps may have been placed on the samovars, such as tax collection stamps, or medals showing that the workshop has won samovar-making competitions.

The samovar is basically a tea-serving vessel for the table; where hot water is heated on a stove, placed in the samovar, and then keep hot by a burning lump of coal, or perhaps even a pitch-impregneted pine-cone placed in the chimney that runs through the center. A strong tea concentrate was then brewed in a tea-pot that was placed on the top of the samovar, and kept hot also by the heat from the chimney. Each tea-drinker at the table would then add the concentrated tea from the teapot, and add water from the tap on the front of the samovar.

Tea drinking in Russia and elsewhere is a widespread necessity as well as a ceremonial event. Electricity has given a way for faster and simpler tea-parties, but the Russian samovar remains a highly sought after work of art and example of older family times.

Antique Russian samovars are becoming more and more difficult to find; but because we have been direct importers from Russia since 1990, we were able to legally bring out a supply of these treasures over 20 years ago! Please consider adding one of these decorative Russian antiques to your collection today!

 


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