Silver is a plentiful raw material in China, so it’s been widely used in decorative objects, from boxes to bowls, since the 7th century. Beginning in the Tang Dynasty, silver alloys of lead or tin were cast and hammered into countless shapes. Floral patterns, engraved or chased on plain surfaces, were common throughout the Yuan Dynasty, but silver was less prevalent during the Ming Dynasty, when paintings, lacquerware, jade, and porcelain dominated.

Beginning in the 18th century, the exports of Chinese silver to the West started to rival those of Chinese porcelain. By the early 1800s, Chinese silversmiths were producing silver jewelry and flatware, as well as teapots, trays, vases, and other examples of traditionally Western tableware. Indeed, some Chinese pieces from this era were so faithful to their sources even the English hallmarks were copied.


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Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Gotheborg.com

Gotheborg.com

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



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