Moldavia (Chisinau), most likely court workshop
Partially gilded silver; H. 20 1/4 in. (51.4 cm), Diam. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm), Wt. 9.7 lb. (4.4 kg)
Wrightsman Fund, 2005 (2005.62.1,.2a,b)
Uniting the ornate Northern Baroque floral style with the exotic shape of Islamic objects, this lavabo set reflects its unusual history. The coat of arms and initials are those of Ioan Serban Cantacuzino, grand duke and ruler of Wallachia (r. 1678–88). Its substantial weight of nearly ten pounds of silver suggests that it was intended for the dowry of his daughter Cassandra, who married the Moldavian grand prince Dimitri Cantemir (1673–1723) in 1699. Cantemir's attempt to liberate his country from the Ottomans in 1711 ended in disaster. The grand prince put his state under Russian suzerainty and went into exile in Russia. The ewer and basin are rare survivors, since most silver objects from the Balkans were melted down.