COFFEE CUP HOLDER
A Zarf is a holder, usually of ornamental metal, for a coffee cup without a handle.
Although coffee was probably discovered in Ethiopia, it was in Turkey at around the thirteenth
century that it became popular as a beverage. As with the serving of tea in China and Japan, the
serving of coffee in Turkey was a complex, ritualized process. It was served in small cups without
handles (known as fincan), which were placed in holders known as zarf (from the Arabic word,
meaning container, envelope) to protect the cup and also the fingers of the drinker from the hot fluid.
Cups were typically made of porcelain, but also of glass and wood, however since it was the holder
that was more visible, it was typically more heavily ornamented.
The zarf was often made from metal, with silver, gold, copper and brass being the most common
materials used. Others were also made of woods such as coconut, ebony or other hardwoods, or of
ivory, bone, horn or tortoiseshell.
Metal zarf were sometimes filigree work, sometimes decorated with chasing, niello, engraving, or set
with gems or other precious stones. Often zarfs had a screw-off base and open work foliate decoration
(from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)
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