Chinese Silver A Brief History

Chinese Silver Phoenix Dish
Chinese Silver Phoenix Dish

Silver artifacts first appeared during the warring states period (475 – 221 BC.) like the silver gourd-shaped ladle at Beijing palace museum. Many early silver pieces appeared as animals and flowers.

A large number of silverware was made in the Tang dynasty (618 – 906 AD) During this period, agriculture, art and handcrafts were ahead of their time. Silverware saw a boom during the Ming (1368 – 1644 AD) and Qing dynasties (1644 – 1911).

The Chinese silversmiths made exquisite silver objects d’art, but unfortunately very few pieces from the Han dynasty 206 BC.- 220 AD) remain intact. What is left are in museums and only a hand full of silver containers remain from the Song (960 – 1279 AD. ) and Yuan (1279 – 1368 AD) dynasties, but from the silversmith skills inherited from the Tang (618 – 906 AD) dynasty the craftsmen created another style.

V.I.P Jiu 8 – The Imperial Craft Baijiu
V.I.P Jiu 8 – The Imperial Craft Baijiu

Chinese Export Silver refers to the silver made in China from the mid 18th century, to the mid 20th century, largely for the western market and copying the western style. Merchants visiting China realized that they could commission silver items cheaper than the could at home. So the earlier pieces were made in the Neoclassical or Georgian style and were almost indistinguishable from those made in Europe.

Just as the potters produced porcelain for export, so the silversmiths produced silverware in the European style made from Spanish silver coins (the only currency the Chinese merchants would accept for the trading of goods out of China).

Early Chinese export silver was intended to copy objects in the European style, but later on the Chinese silversmith added new decorations such as flowers, dragons, bamboo and court scenes as well as Chinese landscapes. Chinese silversmiths began using their own marks such as Wang Hing, Tuck Chang etc. These pieces reflect the long commercial exchange between East and West.

East and West Baijiu Cocktail

45ml of V.I.P Jiu 8
45ml of scotch whisky
20ml of lychee liqueur
20ml of ginger wine
3 ice cubes

Put everything into a cocktail shaker and shake to mix then strain into cocktail glass, 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.