THE CHINESE WHISKY “ODDITY”

 

You may be surprised to learn that Haig first introduced the dimple bottle in the early 1890’s and it became an instant success across the world and probably the world’s first designer packaging, predating the first classic Coca Cola bottle that was launched in 1899 – Wang Hing was the first Chinese silversmith to replace the original brass wire mesh cage of the bottle with a silver cage. These decanters became a Chinese Export Silver oddity and somewhat of a must-have, resulting in them being copied by other Chinese master silversmiths. These decanters were all created in a time span of only 25 years.                

Right, A fine circa 1895 Chinese Export whisky decanter fully marked with the maker’s mark “BA” – an as yet undocumented maker. Although this is by an uncatalogued maker, the work is obviously of a high quality and most probably by a Shanghai maker, since it was in Shanghai the fashion for Silver caged dimple decanters began.

Left, a truly stunning Chinese Export Silver whisky decanter by the master silversmith Wang Hing, circa 1895. This particular decanter is made even more outstanding and unusual because of its chase-work stopper. 23.8cm height. Weight [inc. glass] 890gm; 27cm height.

   

Decanters made by Wang Hing are considered the finest and tend to command the highest values – typically from £2000 upwards, but this price is rapidly rising due to them again becoming a sought after status symbol amongst affluent Chinese – along with the ubiquitous cocktail Chinese Export Silver shaker.

Right: Adrien von Ferscht pictured with a “Haig” Wang Hing decanter at the recent “Glories of Chinese Export Silver” at the Glasgow Art Club for The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts

© 2012 – 2013, Adrien von Ferscht. All rights reserved.

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