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

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Gotheborg.com

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Silver at the Victoria and Albert

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TheStieffCompany.com

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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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