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Ode to an Indian Urn……

January 20, 2010

If you read this yesterday, you know I found a fabulous window at a craft show recently. Well, the real prize was this….

The dealer told me it was a hamam – a friend of mine (Mrs. Expat) calls it a samovar.  (Samovar is a Russian word that means self brewer and in Russia these were used for tea. Apparently, there is quite a lively debate going on about whether this type of piece originated in Russia or Asia. I’ll leave that debate to the scholars who care about such things.) According to my guy, this was used in Kashmir. In the tube in the center, hot coals were placed and the outer ring held water. People would use this to wash their hands before eating.

Either way, I loved it and immediately thought of more practical uses for it. In the US, we have an island in the center of our kitchen and we host a lot of buffet-style dinners. I just know this is going to be marvelous at the end of the island with ice in the tube and lemonade (or sangria) in the outer ring. I cannot wait to use it.

Being the savvy shopper that I am, I asked my guy if it would be ok to use it that way. My big concern was more honestly whether or not the brass would change the taste of the liquid inside of it. My hubby’s concern was whether or not it would leak – probably because he knows well who gets to help clean up such leaks.

Here is where you have to be careful when shopping in India.

His answer was, “yes, of course. No problem.”

Uh – em. Not convinced, I asked him to demonstrate.

He got his people to get buckets of water and, with complete confidence, they poured water into the outer ring. And that water spilled out of absolutely every single crevice in the basin.

New answer – “we’ll fix it ma’am”. Good answer.

So they fixed it and brought it over and once again confidently filled it with water. It worked this time. Yahoo!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2010 4:46 pm

    Wow! They fixed it! That is wonderful. A good Samovar is a great addition to a dining experience. I agree with your expat friend who said they originated in Russia. I have worked in Antiques for 30+ years and my knowledge base tells me she is right.

    • January 21, 2010 3:04 am

      I was so glad that they actually fixed it – I will believe you on the whole Russia thing but might still embellish my story a bit 😉 . Either way I am so happy to have it!

  2. January 20, 2010 6:52 am

    Oh YAY you got it!! Who cares if the taste gets changed … if it’s sangria, no one will notice after the first glass anyhow!

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