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3-piece Chinese silver tea set

£ 4,850

Silversmith
Place

China

Year

c1900

Classic Chinese export silver tea set comprising teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl. Each piece features hand-chased dragon motifs - finely detailed and in high relief while the shaped handles are formed to emulate bamboo. The interiors of the milk and sugar are gilded.

Chinese export silver was produced in China from the mid-18th to mid-20th century for a largely Western audience, made in the European style from melted Spanish silver; silver being the only currency Chinese merchants would accept for the trading of goods, such as tea, silks and spices, out of China.

With Western-inspired forms new, highly desirable works of Chinese export silver were created, with a mix of Western forms and Eastern iconography. During the mid-China Trade period (1840-1880), silversmiths began adding Chinese decorative motifs such as bamboo, dragons or warriors onto typically Western forms. Cranes and dragons are extremely popular motifs.  For many thousands of years dragons have symbolised wisdom, harmony and prosperity in China, and in ancient Chinese culture, they represent imperial power.

Dimensions mentioned are for the teapot with the handle raised.
Milk jug: 78mm tall
Sugar bowl: 78mm tall

Height
160mm (6 1/4")
Depth
160mm (6 1/4")
Weight
752g (24.18 troy ozs )
Condition
Excellent
Reference
6050
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