The Front Cover
Many Iranians prepare tea, a staple of Iranian life, in a Russian “instrument”, the samovar. And they use the Russian word, from samo-, meaning "self-", and varit, meaning "to boil".
The samovar in the front cover photograph is a Russian decorative miniature “souvenir samovar”, manufactured in 1974 by the Shtamp Engineering Factory in the city of Tula. The factory is celebrated for manufacturing excellent samovars for well over a hundred years. According to a Russian saying, “No one takes a samovar to Tula.” The Persian equivalent involves "taking cumin to Kerman," where it is widely cultivated.
Masherbrum Art was unable to discover who painted the samovar after manufacturing.
Traditional wooden Russian Matrioshka dolls were painted especially for the photograph by the Russian artist Virineya Würgler. The Iranian doll is dressed in a style of Iranian folk dress, and the Russian in a traditional Russian sarafan. Interestingly, the Russian word appears to have originated from the Persian sarāpā, literally “head-to-foot”, historically a dress of honor.
Both Iranians and Russians refer to tea as chai. In the cover photograph, the dolls are engaging in chai'ovnichat, Russian for "doing tea".
Sugar cubes are used in both Iran and Russia. Several were sawed to a smaller size for the photograph.
The common china toy teapot was repainted white. The toy sugar pot was grinded for a larger opening.
Miniature glasses and saucers in the Persian style were made especially for the photograph by torch blowing and subsequent application of gold coloring.
The tea was real.