ANTIQUE 19THC CHINESE EXPORT WANG HING SOLID SILVER MASSIVE TROPHY EWER C1890

ANTIQUE 19THC CHINESE EXPORT WANG HING SOLID SILVER MASSIVE TROPHY EWER C1890

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REFERENCE NUMBER: A3263

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DESCRIPTION

Antique 19th Century rare and exceptional Chinese Export Solid Silver trophy ewer, impressive and exceptionally fine (40cm tall), baluster form, the body showing a compendium of the finest techniques and styles used in Chinese Export Silver: the domed circular base chased with stylized leaves, the round body featuring an oval medallion on each side depicting flying dragons in relief amongst clouds, surrounded by a densely populated landscape with mountains, buildings and trees, depicting a great number of figures and animals, the neck engraved with decorative stylized naturalistic patterns, in a style that had strong influence on the Victorian decorative art with the so-called "aesthetic movement", the handle naturalistcally modelled imitating a branch, chased hinged cover surmounted by a similarly shaped finial.

The decoration is extremely crisp and detailed, the ewer shows almost all the patterns and decorative techniques used in Chinese Export Silver, like engraved stylized scrolling foliage, bamboo leaves, dragons in relief, the naturalistic branch-like handle, the most popular and sought after village scenes.

The frontal panel bearing the original presentation inscription: "Singapore Volunteer Artillery, Challenge Cup Presented by J. Finlayson Esq for Musketry 1894".

The trophy is particularly relevant for Singapore's history, for the military interest and being presented to John Finlayson, head of Boustead and Company and chairman of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, also actively associated with the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company between 1883 and 1895. Finlayson has been such an important figure for Singapore that the street Finlayson Green was named after him (please see: V. R. Savage, B. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics).

The base is Hallmarked Chinese silver (90 for 900 standard, tested is 900+ standard), Maker's mark "WH90" for Wang Hing, the most important and renown Chinese Export luxury retailer and silver manufacturer active in Hong Kong, Canton and Shanghai. This particular mark, in a square, caused confusion for over 60 years, being used in some of the finest items it was believed to be used on Wang Hing items retailed by Tiffany & Co. Although there is no proof that a collaboration between Wang Hing and Tiffany ever existed, thanks to recent discoveries by professor Von Ferscht is possible to connect this mark to the maker Tai Kut, active in Canton circa 1850-1900 (for more information please see A. Von Ferscht, Chinese Export Silver 1785-1940, 4th edition 2015).

CONDITION

In Excellent condition - No damage.

SIZE

Height: 40cm

Width: 18.5 x 15cm

Silver Weight: 1270g