Silver performs consistently well at auction. Chinese silver is in a league of its own. When it comes to silversmithing, Chinese ‘artists’ have always been famous for making a functional object into a truly desirable work of art. Even in the 19th century in China, the silversmiths were well-regarded but it was often the retail silversmiths, the men commissioning the silver, who dictated the style and subject of the metal work. In the early 19th century (and late 18th century) silversmiths began manufacturing to appeal to a Western audience, catering for this growing market, and developed a fusion of Eastern motifs and Western shapes, to create beautifully crafted silver items.
Lot 1134 in The Asian Works of Art Auction is a Chinese silver tea service. Embossed with butterflies and bamboo, this service is a fine example of the Chinese sensitivity to beauty and function. The maker, Kwong Man Shing, operated in Guangdong in the late 19th and early 20th century. Items from this source tend to follow traditions of Chinese taste in terms of design, showcasing a Chinese artistic style on a typically Western tea service. Estimated at £1200-1800, the lot is sure to appeals to silver collectors the world over.
It is not only Chinese silver that will catch the international eye in this auction. A small but fine Japanese silver kojo or incense box at lot 1018 is a lovely item. And an attractive Burmese silver lidded bowl (lot 1139), estimated at £300-400, showcases the beauty of the Southeast Asian silver tradition.
Don’t miss The Asian Works of Art Auction on Thursday 31st January.