For Chinese artisans, boxes have always been more than mere utilitarian objects. Over the centuries, special decorative techniques were developed in order to make them extraordinarily special, while the amount of decorative detailing lavished upon boxes is often excessive relative to the size of the object or the purpose it was made for. Cultures vary […]


A well-set dining table may be likened to a stage set; it can speak volumes about an occasion, the person who set it and it contains a plethora of subtle [and sometimes not so subtle] social messages – in short, it is the scenery that acts as a foil for the guests to perform, often […]


At the back end of August this year, the Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions had consulted with me regarding some items of Chinese Export Silver due to be consigned in a mixed silver sale for 5th November. They did it of their own accord, as opposed to my usual hectoring of auction houses at half-hearted […]

META-MUSEUM:CHINESE EXPORT SILVER – Masters of the Tazza 中國出口銀器: 藝術大師級的高腳盤子

  It is equally perplexing to find the origins of the object we know as a “tazza” as to understand why Chinese silversmiths during the Chinese Export Silver period [1785-1940] both excelled at and took such obvious delight in making. The word itself means a cup of a vessel and is derived from the Persian […]

META-MUSEUM: The Complex Hierarchy of The China Trade Relative to the Chinese Export Silver Trade 相對於中國出口銀貿易而言的中國貿易之複雜階級制度

Chinese Export Silver was very much a product of the China Trade, but the period between 1757-1842 is now known as the Old China Trade. Despite frenetic attempts by the Emperor to restrict European merchants, citizens and their trading to Macau, it began to spread throughout China. The Canton System was devised to control trade […]

META-MUSEUM: CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: Passing the salt in style – for 8000 years! 中國出口銀器: 遞上鹽的格調 – 8000年了!

      To many of us, we might be aware of the connotations that salt has with monarchy – a substance of high value and denoting high status. We might also be aware of the connections of salt with the Romans – the very word “salary” being a derivative that traces its roots to […]

META-MUSEUM: Chinese Export Silver: Canton Georgian Gems in Massachusetts 在馬薩諸塞州的廣東喬治亞風瑰寶

Chinese Export Silver: Canton Georgian Gems in Massachusetts                                                                                                 […]

META-MUSEUM:CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: Lustrous Beacons of Excellence 中國出口銀器: 明亮的卓越之燈塔

  CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: Lustrous Beacons of Excellence   中國出口銀器: 明亮的卓越之燈塔  Chinese Export Silver is without doubt the most mysterious silver category the world ever saw. Only now, over 70 years after it faded into obscurity, are we beginning to understand some of the many enigmas; it’s the stuff of movies! As a silver category, […]

META-MUSEUM: CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: Takes a cup of kindness yet 中國出口銀器: 我們一起真誠地舉杯

There are not many things the West and China had in common in the 18th and 19th centuries, but certainly one thing both cultures shared was a penchant for drinking alcohol. Alcohol and silver have always made a good marriage; silver has been used to elevate the consumption of alcohol to a higher plain of […]

META-MUSEUM:CHINESE EXPORT SILVER:The Ultimate Tea Ceremony 中國出口銀器: 終極茶道

CHINESE EXPORT SILVER: The Ultimate Tea Ceremony 中國出口銀器: 終極茶道  Chinese Export Silver was very much a product of the China Trade which in itself was a phenomenon born out of the long-established silk and tea trades between China and the West. Tea, like silver, is very much embedded into the Chinese psyche. Unlike in China, […]

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