Goblets are the ancient vessels for drinking wine shaped like a bowl with a base and stem but without handles. Their various forms were similar to beakers, bratinas and other cups and their stems were shaped as pillars, tree trunks, cast figures etc. Their lids were decorated with silver bouquets of flowers allegories of the virtues. Executed usually of precious metals or natural materials, goblets were finished with engraved or embossed ornament, enamels and precious stones.
Although goblets were widespread in Russia from early times, they were usually of West European origin. Having been brought by foreign ambassadors or tradesmen, these utensils were used in everyday life as dresser decorations. They were also granted to voivodes(provincial governors) and merchants for a faithful service or presented as gifts on special occasions and ceremonies. Silver goblets were considered to be the symbols of wealth of their owners, which were displayed for guests in dressers during banquets and festivals.
A harmonious, elegant gold vessel, executed in the Moscow Kremlin Workshops in the first half of the XVIIth century, is a rare example of the Old Russian secular tableware of the XVIIth century (img. 2). In the form it recalls a church chalice - a gold or silver cup containing the wine at Mass; the traditional liturgical inscription, however, has been replaced by the name of the owner – Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich. This artwork is a reminiscent of several masterpieces, including the lavishly bejeweled crown of Mikhail Fyodorovich.