Silver bowls with a horizontal handle were current in the Golden Horde Khanate which was ruled over by the descendants of Genghiz Khan's second son, Jochi. The Khanate between the 13th and the 15th century spanned Moldavia in the west and the Qipchaq Steppe in the east. Archaeological excavations at the second capital, Saray Berke on the Volga have revealed the culture and artistic achievements of the Golden Horde. The bowls in silver and gold of this type have been found in south Russia as well as in Central Asia. They are engraved with a variety of floral designs including the flying crane seen here.
This is one of a small number of similar vessels, all but two of which are made of silver rather than gold, most of which are in the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, having been excavated in areas within the former Soviet Union where "several dozen" have been excavated (Anatoli Ivanov (intro. by) Masterpieces of Islamic Art in the Hermitage Museum, Kuwait, 1990, no.62, p.94). A number of these, showing some of the variety of form and decoration, are published in The Treasures of the Golden Horde, exhibition catalogue, Saint Petersburg 2000, nos.40, 41, 46, and 57-69, pp.219-231. There is also an example in the David Collection, Copenhagen (Kjeld von Folsach et al.: Sultan, Shah and Great Mughal, exhibition catalogue, Copenhagen, 1996, no.253, p.276), while a further example was sold in these Rooms, 10 October 2000, lot 275.
Ivanov suggests that these were bowls for travellers, being carried within a special bag hanging from the belt. This is presumably a finding from archaeological sites. A similar bowl is however depicted in the hand of the enthroned Sultan Sanjar ibn Malik Shah in the Edinburgh University part of the Jami al-Tawarikh of Rashid al-Din (David Talbot Rice, and Basil Gray, The Illustrations to the World History of Rashid al-Din, Edinburgh, 1976, pl.68, p.174), showing that such bowls were used at the courts of the rulers of the time, not solely on their travels