Chinese Metal Gilding History

Chinese Gilt Bronze Bear (Han Dynasty)
Chinese Gilt Bronze Bear (Han Dynasty)

The origins of gilding go back at least 5000 years. The oldest gilded metalwork known in China are items consisting of bronze, wrapped in gold foil. Other items dated to the Shang dynasty (1700 – 1050 BC) are a number of bronze heads, some of which are partially covered with gold.

Early in the Qing dynasty (1712 – 1722) gilding on Chinese porcelain was introduced, They obtained this by grinding gold leaf into a powder and mixing it with colourless lead enamel.

Around the time of the warring states period (480 – 221 BC) the technique of mercury gilding came into popular use. Terms such as, best gilding, solid gilding or fire gilding were used. Pure gold was mixed with mercury to a liquid then applied to the item to be gilded. Once the item had been covered with the amalgam (mercury – gold mixture) was then heated in a furnace until the mercury vaporised, leaving the gold bonded to the surface of the item. Which was them burnished to a bright finish.

Silver, copper brass or bronze objects were used as substrates for mercury gilding. Another technique used was mercury silvering. Many examples of the use of these materials come from the Han dynasty (206 BC. – 220AD) Mercury amalgams were the best choice for producing a smooth, coating of gold or silver on three-dimensional objects, because the process could be repeated until a coating of the desired thickness was achieved. Gold leaf gilding was used on silver until near the end of the Song dynasty. (960 – 1279 AD)

Golden Delicious – Baijiu Cocktail

25ml of V.I.P Jiu 8
25ml of golden rum
45ml of pineapple juice
Sweet cider
Apple wedge
6 ice cubes

Put V.I.P Jiu 8, rum, pineapple juice and 3 ice cubes into cocktail shaker and shake to mix, then strain into a cocktail glass and top with cider, add the other three ice cubes and garnish with apple wedge, enjoy!

Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.