Default Image
  • 13
    May

Chinese Export Silver: The East-West Divide

中國出口銀器:東西方的分裂 [caption id="attachment_2520205" align="aligncenter" width="567"] English pound notes and renminbi, the official currency of the People's Republic of China.[/caption] Worthologist Adrien von Ferscht investigates the dichotomy of preference by Chinese collectors of Chinese Export Silver for items in the high Chinese style over the earlier, neo-classical pieces of the late 18th and early 19th centuries; silver that admirably...

Read More
Default Image
  • 14
    Apr

The Enamel Revival Phenomenon and its Relationship to Chinese Export Silver

中國出口銀器: 琺瑯的復興現象 [caption id="attachment_2519906" align="aligncenter" width="458"] Highly sophisticated Chinese cloisonné first surfaced during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and that workmanship can be seen in this superb bowl.[/caption] The art of cloisonné is often looked upon as a Chinese art and, in some respects, it is a correct assumption. However, cloisonné, as a technique, finds its roots back in...

Read More
Default Image
  • 10
    Apr

The Important Glasgow Connection to Canton and Chinese Export Silver

中國出口銀器: 格拉斯哥的聯系 [caption id="attachment_2519847" align="aligncenter" width="499"] A cross-section of an 18th-century East Indiaman. The preferred ship plying the Calcutta-Canton-Glasgow trade route, they could carry a large load, but were also heavy and cumbersome, required a large crew and were not particularly speedy.[/caption] There are more similarities between the early 19th-century port cities of Glasgow, Scotland, and Canton, China,...

Read More
Default Image
  • 25
    Mar

Chinese Export Silver: The 19th-Century Phenomenon Equivalent to the iPad!

[caption id="attachment_2519683" align="alignright" width="300"] This silver gilt cup is Chinese, straddling the Sung and Tang dynastic periods. While there are some recognizably Chinese decorative motifs, the overwhelming influences are still veering more towards the Sassania. But the important fact of this particular object is that it was made in China and the silver technique is clearly influenced by...

Read More
Default Image
  • 17
    Mar

The Huge Influence of the Early 20th-Century Chinese Department Stores

中國出口銀器: 二十世紀初中國百貨公司業的巨大影響 [caption id="attachment_2519529" align="alignright" width="312"] This kettle and stand is typical of the early Wing On Company silver production.[/caption] Department stores were first introduced to China in the late 19th century but they came in the guise of foreign chains or investors who were doing nothing more than trying to establish lucrative colonial implants that had previously...

Read More
Default Image
  • 14
    Mar

Chinese Export Silver Offers a Cabinet Full of Charming Curiosities

中國出口銀器: 珍奇百寶屋 [caption id="attachment_2519383" align="aligncenter" width="423"] This pounce was made by Tu Mao Xing of Tientsin (Tianjin) towards the end of the 19th century. Pounce is a fine powder made from powdered cuttlefish bone or very fine pale sand used to dry ink after writing a letter or calligraphy.[/caption] Sometimes I have to pinch myself; I must be...

Read More
Default Image
  • 7
    Mar

Wang Hing: Discovering the True Identity of a Silversmithing Genius

宏興: 發現一個天才的真正身份 [caption id="attachment_2519263" align="aligncenter" width="564"] A table centerpiece, done in the high-Chinese style by the Canton silversmithing shop Wang Hing, circa 1880. Until now, the identity of the man or family behind Wang Hing had been lost to history. Now, after receiving an e-mail from a woman in Hong Kong, we know the story.[/caption] The 1842 Treaty...

Read More
Default Image
  • 3
    Mar

A Very Chinese Purim Spiel: Chinese Export Silver Megillot

非常中國式的普珥節話劇 [caption id="attachment_2519235" align="aligncenter" width="556"] This photograph is titles “A Purim Party, Shanghai, 1910”, and is courtesy of Yad Va’Shem, Jerusalem.[/caption] To many people, it will seem incongruous that a 19th-century Chinese silversmith in Canton would have created a megillah, but it’s not as strange as it initially appears. Albeit that Chinese megillot are rare, they come with...

Read More
Default Image
  • 28
    Feb

Catherine the Great Owned the Ultimate Collection of Chinese Silver Filigree Works

中國出口銀器: 凱薩琳大帝來了 [caption id="attachment_2519060" align="aligncenter" width="555"] Catherine the Great inaugurating the new Imperial Academy of Art in 1765 at the Shuvalov Palace in St Petersburg; just another day at the office for her Imperial Highness.[/caption] Catherine the Great could never be called a simple girl; to do so would be a gross understatement of the reality that was...

Read More
Default Image
  • 25
    Feb

Combining Chinese Export Silver with other Metals was Rare, but Beautiful

中國出口銀器也玩重金屬 [caption id="attachment_2518976" align="aligncenter" width="571"] This bowl, made, circa 1890, by a Canton maker we only know as “C.L.,” incorporates copper in the shell of the crab, a rarity for Chinese Export Silver and an indication that it was commissioned.[/caption] It would be perfectly logical to expect Chinese Export Silver to be exactly what it says on the...

Read More