CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: Cicada Season! With billions of cicadas about to plague America, to the Chinese they have traditionally been a symbol of immortality and longevity. Chinese gentry once decorated their hats with a jade cicada, 蝉 chan, in the belief they would be considered a man of principle; the fact the cicada climbs to […]


The Hong Kong retail silversmith WAI KEE 惠記 [in Mandarin: HUI JI] is one of the few retailers that truly spans three centuries; founded in 1885, the firm is still operating in almost the same location by Pedder Street with the same specialities of pearls, jewellery and what has become known as Chinese export silver […]

CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: “Sailing into the tiger’s mouth”

The SHING WO [SHENG HE] 和勝 artisan silver workshop in Canton was probably the most masterful in creating detailed miniature items of silver; a much-overlooked area of late Qing and Republic era Chinese silver-making. What the West would probably call a “junk boat” finds its roots back in the Han dynasty; the Qing dynasty equivalent […]

CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: THE Yokohama Conundrum! 中國外銷銀器:橫濱難題

All world silver categories have their own peculiar, often unexplainable, anomalies; Qing Dynasty Silver [aka Chinese Export Silver] is not an exception. In the latter half of the 20th century, Chinese Export Silver was finally resurrected from the backwaters and a degree of investigation occurred, mainly in Massachusetts, having been a mostly unknown silver genus, […]

Qing Dynasty Silver Meets the Ancient Art of Penjing 清代銀器遇上古代盆景藝術

Bonsai [kanji 盆栽] has become known across the Western world as well as much of Asia, yet as an English noun it has only existed as a dictionary word since 1950 describing, in the main, the rather enigmatic world of individual miniature trees that have been painstakingly clipped and trained; it has morphed into being […]


  DEFINITELY NOT A BAT OUT OF HELL!    西蝠非福,中蝠亦福  The auspicious attachment to the bat in China highlights how different two cultures can be. In the West, the bat has almost always had sinister overtones. In China, however, it was far different. There is an aura that has evolved around the Chinese Export Silver […]

假消息 Fake news? Western auction houses and e-commerce sites seem worryingly oblivious to the increasing presence of Chinese “copies”

Few categories of antiques are immune to fakery; copies that manifest in varying degrees of passable authenticity, or at least at first glance. Fakes, replicas, copies – whatever one wishes to call them, have existed almost as long as the real thing and it’s been so for centuries and Chinese artisans have been considered the […]

God Help eBay et al 天助eBay诸君

  Nobody can dispute that the awareness of Chinese Export Silver has grown exponentially in the past five years; there’s also far more of it appearing in auction house sales – but is the understanding of it there? Chinese Export Silver is, by default, an extremely complex silver category and it is only recently that […]

Sino-Victoriana 中国-维多利亚时期

Sino-Victoriana 中国-维多利亚时期 From the mid 19th century, Chinese Export Silver spawned a decorative style that encapsulated the exuberance of a combination of two cultures, the very era itself and the vibrancy that was the China Trade. This made for a unique and interesting mix – the bringing together of these otherwise highly unlikely bedfellows created […]

加州淘金热对中国银器和香港的影响 by Adrien von Ferscht 皇甫安 Translated by Chao Huang 黄超

THE CALIFORNIA GOLD-RUSH EFFECT ON CHINESE SILVER AND HONG KONG 加州淘金热对中国银器和香港的影响                                                 by Adrien von Ferscht 皇甫安  Translated by Chao Huang 黄超       深入研究发现,中国外销银是目前看来最复杂和最多样的银类品种,无法任取一件这种银器物而知其然,因其内涵传递的信息远比其外观要多。拾一件外销银如同握一颗手榴弹,其中满裹着各种历史、文化和艺术价值,随时准备引爆而揭开一个个秘密。 然而中国外销银长期以来背负着错误的命名,也许长达50年,或许更长时期。即使随着其需求与影响的扩大,银制品也一直并非物如其名,也从没有人给予它一个接近真相的适合头衔。我们有且仅有从史料记载的时间上判断,在18世纪末至1840年这60多年的时间里,一大批重要的新古典银相继出现,先是为了“出口市场”而生产,后则是供“国内消费”而制作。而这些银制品的制造者/主人,多以旅居中国的西方居民或新兴中国的中产阶级为主。 关于银制品制造者,笔者经过最近大量的勘校性研究后发现,一些被西方认为是“制造者”身份的人,实际上并不是制造者,而是零售银匠或零售商,并且银制品也仅仅只是其售卖的其中一种特殊商品。这众多鉴定银器标识背后的人物,在这时空中,经常能够带人进入一个无法预料的旅程,笔者本文想要介绍的,便是其中这样一个银器标识—-香港的“Chong Woo(长和)”。 “长和”标识最早可追溯到英国殖民统治早期(具体而言是1849年起),此标识虽无特别明确的样式,又往往与优质产品无关,但有其标识的银器却多为稀缺品,并且它的存在清楚地表明了曾有人懂得银器的工艺以及样式质量监控。 实际上,“长和”之名完全是虚构的名称,该标识背后的真实人物是招雨田(Chiu Yu Tin,常称招成林),14岁移民香港,是香港岛最早的移民者之一。他出生在距广州不远的南海县的一个贫苦家庭。碰巧的是,许多重要的广州零售银匠也来自佛山南海县,也就是说,招雨田很可能与银匠世家有着某些密切联系。 […]

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