The Royal Dish Cover
Dish covers were used in the royal household to cover the food served into food bowls, in order to keep the food warm. The royal kitchens were situated quite far from the royal dining room. Therefore after the food was served into food bowls, they were covered immediately with dish covers in order to prevent the cooling of the food, and perhaps the poisoning of the food during its transfer from the kitchen to the dining hall.There are many jewel studded dish covers in the treasury of the National Iranian Jewels but all of them conform to the same basic pattern. They are all circular in shape with a dome-shaped center, which acted like a handle. there is a broad lip at the edge, which covered the edge of the dish.
The jewel-studded dish cover in the picture is made of solid gold, and has a diameter of 19 cm and a height of 10cm at center of the dome. The summit of the dome is occupied by a large diamond surrounded by eight pearls. The dome itself is encrusted with emeralds, spinels, and diamonds of varying sizes. There is a ring of smaller spinels right round the base of the dome. Another ring of spinels is found towards the summit of the dome. Somewhere in between on the dome four large emeralds and four large spinels are placed alternating with one another, in the form of a ring. The large emeralds are surrounded by triangular-shaped white diamonds, in the form of a floral pattern. The circular flat area surrounding the dome is studded with six large emeralds and six large spinels alternating with one another, and each surrounded by a row of smaller diamonds. The twelve emeralds and spinels occupy the same positions as numbers on the dial of a circular clock. Just as many other masterpieces in the collection, such as the Naderi Shield, the design on this dish cover also combines mathematical precision with artistic beauty.
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