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{"id":5550986330262,"title":"Antique Vietnamese Silver Box, Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam – Late 19th Century","handle":"antique-vietnamese-silver-box-nguyen-dynasty-vietnam-late-19th-century","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis highly decorative antique silver hinged box was made in Vietnam and dates to the time of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), most probably to the late 19\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury. To the underside of the base, the box has been inscribed with the words ‘VINH – SADEC’.  Other pieces of silver with the same inscription have been recorded and this mark, together with an illustration, is mentioned in the 4\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eEdition of ‘Chinese Export Silver 1785-1940 The Definitive Collectors’ Guide’.  Von Ferscht explains that this is a Vietnamese and not a Chinese mark and that this inscription is also not a maker’s mark\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eper se\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ebut states that various articles of silverware bearing the mark are known, with examples dating from the mid to late 19\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury.  Vinh and Sadec are cities in Vietnam; the former is located in the centre of Vietnam and the latter in the Meking Delta, which was a focus of growth under French rule.  The French colonial administrators championed and encouraged the heritage arts of Indochina, promoting their development through supportive educational establishments and a series of large showcase exhibitions in France.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe box has been ornamented across almost the entire exterior surface, bar the underside.  The effect of the ornamentation is rich and pleasing, demonstrating great subtlety and delicacy of touch, with the Chinese influence clearly visible.  The ornamentation of the principal panels is of particular merit, showing great skill and mastery of the medium.  The scenes themselves are almost paradisical; joyful glimpses of an enchanted world where the flora and fauna are prolific and the animals have the freedom to frolic at their pleasure. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe background surrounding the fine scenic panels is reminiscent of a woven textile such as brocade whilst the panels to the side of the cover have the appearance of woven ribbons.  The silver ground within the principal panel, which adorns the top of the cover, has been exceptionally subtly incised to represent the water in the scene.  In this area, the silver appears to shimmer in the light, emulating the play of light upon rippling water.  The scene portrays pine trees, bamboos, grasses, ferns, chrysanthemums and lotus flowers.  Two pairs of birds are perched up in the trees and a pair of peacocks stand on the rocks in the foreground.  They are practicing displaying their tails, a courtship ritual.  Up above, a female peahen flies amongst the trees in the canopy.  The positioning of the lotus flowers suggests that a small lake, or pool, occupies the central area of the scene. A myriad of butterflies and dragonflies cover the whole area.  The border surrounding this scene has a pinked edge to the exterior.  A bat is depicted at each corner; these are auspicious motifs.  Between the bats lies a repeating ribbon border of alternating floral and foliate elements which borders the scene to all sides. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLengths of a similar repeating ‘ribbon’ of two different alternating floral elements appear again, this time framed as panels, one length appearing on each side of the cover.  They are surrounded by a repeating patterned background of small trellis design where each space in the trellis is occupied by a simple quatrefoil, calling to mind a textile, such as silk brocade.  This same ‘brocade’ background has also been used around the sides of the container, acting as a foil to the large scenic panels, which have been fashioned on the four sides, and bringing cohesion to the whole design.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe wide panel to the front of the box depicts a pair of cockerels who are staring at each other.  They are watched by a small hen.  Contemplative scholars’ rocks can be seen to the left and right of this scene with small plants and ferns growing out of the holes in the stone. To the left of the scene are chrysanthemums and bamboo, to the right a plum tree in full blossom with a pair of parrots roosting in the boughs.  Once again, butterflies fill the sky.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe wide panel to the back of the box depicts a grove of pine and bamboo.  In the centre of the grassy clearing are a male and a female deer.   Again, there are chrysanthemums, butterflies and scholars’ rocks.  Five birds - two of which are thought to be cranes – can be seen flying or standing.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe two panels to the shorter ends depict scenes in a similar vein.  One shows a tranquil scene which appears to be set in a scholar’s garden.  Banana trees - much loved for the sound of the rain falling on their leaves - pine trees and bamboo plants grow between rocky outcrops.  There are three small buildings, two are small tea houses or summer houses and the third a small pagoda.  Insects, probably dragonflies, lie on the rocks.  A bat flies over the treetops, suggesting twilight.  The last panel features another scene within a similar garden setting. Once again we see the rocky outcrops, bamboo plants, one tea house and a pagoda.  In the foreground, a crouching tiger approaches a bird standing on the ground.  The bird’s mate perches above, in the branches of a nearby tree.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFrom 1802 – 1839, the area we now refer to as Vietnam, was a member of the Imperial Chinese Tributary system.  Tribute was paid to the Chinese emperor on a regular basis in recognition of China’s superior power and in respect of China’s role as the arbiter of disputes between countries within the region.  This relationship has been described as similar to that of a big brother with his little brother.  Indeed, the province of Annam had been part of the Chinese Imperial Tributary system since the 14\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury, when initially, tribute took the form of virgin girls, servants and eunuchs.  As the dominant power in the immediate area, the Nguyen emperors viewed Cambodia and Laos as their tributary states and tried to establish an Imperial Vietnamese tributary system based on the Chinese model.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBy 1885, Chinese influence in the region had declined and the French had conquered the whole of Vietnam which became part of French Indochina, their colonial holdings in South East Asia, although they retained the Vietnamese Emperor as a nominal figurehead.  During World War II the French were, in turn, ousted by the Japanese who proclaimed an independent Vietnam in 1945, marking the end of the Nguyen dynasty.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:-\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e European art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions:- \u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003eHeight 9.4cms; Length 25cms; Width 15cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:- \u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e 1,110  grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:-\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAdrien von Ferscht, Chinese Export Silver 1785 - 1940 The Definitive Collectors' Guide, 4th Edition\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003ePatricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art, A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Tuttle Publishing, Singapore 2008\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-07-31T04:27:55+01:00","created_at":"2020-07-31T04:07:39+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"Silver Box","tags":["Thai Viet \u0026 Cambodian Silver"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":false,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":35509769535638,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":false,"name":"Antique Vietnamese Silver Box, Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam – Late 19th Century","public_title":null,"options":["Default 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Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam Late 19th Century","id":10445806600342,"position":7,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"width":768,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Silver-Box-Nguyen-Dynasty-Vietnam-Late-19th-Century.jpg?v=1596165886"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Silver-Box-Nguyen-Dynasty-Vietnam-Late-19th-Century.jpg?v=1596165886","width":768},{"alt":"Antique Silver Box Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam","id":10445812859030,"position":8,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":827,"width":827,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Silver-Box-Nguyen-Dynasty-Vietnam.jpg?v=1596165918"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":827,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Silver-Box-Nguyen-Dynasty-Vietnam.jpg?v=1596165918","width":827}],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThis highly decorative antique silver hinged box was made in Vietnam and dates to the time of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), most probably to the late 19\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury. To the underside of the base, the box has been inscribed with the words ‘VINH – SADEC’.  Other pieces of silver with the same inscription have been recorded and this mark, together with an illustration, is mentioned in the 4\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eEdition of ‘Chinese Export Silver 1785-1940 The Definitive Collectors’ Guide’.  Von Ferscht explains that this is a Vietnamese and not a Chinese mark and that this inscription is also not a maker’s mark\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eper se\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ebut states that various articles of silverware bearing the mark are known, with examples dating from the mid to late 19\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury.  Vinh and Sadec are cities in Vietnam; the former is located in the centre of Vietnam and the latter in the Meking Delta, which was a focus of growth under French rule.  The French colonial administrators championed and encouraged the heritage arts of Indochina, promoting their development through supportive educational establishments and a series of large showcase exhibitions in France.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe box has been ornamented across almost the entire exterior surface, bar the underside.  The effect of the ornamentation is rich and pleasing, demonstrating great subtlety and delicacy of touch, with the Chinese influence clearly visible.  The ornamentation of the principal panels is of particular merit, showing great skill and mastery of the medium.  The scenes themselves are almost paradisical; joyful glimpses of an enchanted world where the flora and fauna are prolific and the animals have the freedom to frolic at their pleasure. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe background surrounding the fine scenic panels is reminiscent of a woven textile such as brocade whilst the panels to the side of the cover have the appearance of woven ribbons.  The silver ground within the principal panel, which adorns the top of the cover, has been exceptionally subtly incised to represent the water in the scene.  In this area, the silver appears to shimmer in the light, emulating the play of light upon rippling water.  The scene portrays pine trees, bamboos, grasses, ferns, chrysanthemums and lotus flowers.  Two pairs of birds are perched up in the trees and a pair of peacocks stand on the rocks in the foreground.  They are practicing displaying their tails, a courtship ritual.  Up above, a female peahen flies amongst the trees in the canopy.  The positioning of the lotus flowers suggests that a small lake, or pool, occupies the central area of the scene. A myriad of butterflies and dragonflies cover the whole area.  The border surrounding this scene has a pinked edge to the exterior.  A bat is depicted at each corner; these are auspicious motifs.  Between the bats lies a repeating ribbon border of alternating floral and foliate elements which borders the scene to all sides. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLengths of a similar repeating ‘ribbon’ of two different alternating floral elements appear again, this time framed as panels, one length appearing on each side of the cover.  They are surrounded by a repeating patterned background of small trellis design where each space in the trellis is occupied by a simple quatrefoil, calling to mind a textile, such as silk brocade.  This same ‘brocade’ background has also been used around the sides of the container, acting as a foil to the large scenic panels, which have been fashioned on the four sides, and bringing cohesion to the whole design.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe wide panel to the front of the box depicts a pair of cockerels who are staring at each other.  They are watched by a small hen.  Contemplative scholars’ rocks can be seen to the left and right of this scene with small plants and ferns growing out of the holes in the stone. To the left of the scene are chrysanthemums and bamboo, to the right a plum tree in full blossom with a pair of parrots roosting in the boughs.  Once again, butterflies fill the sky.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe wide panel to the back of the box depicts a grove of pine and bamboo.  In the centre of the grassy clearing are a male and a female deer.   Again, there are chrysanthemums, butterflies and scholars’ rocks.  Five birds - two of which are thought to be cranes – can be seen flying or standing.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe two panels to the shorter ends depict scenes in a similar vein.  One shows a tranquil scene which appears to be set in a scholar’s garden.  Banana trees - much loved for the sound of the rain falling on their leaves - pine trees and bamboo plants grow between rocky outcrops.  There are three small buildings, two are small tea houses or summer houses and the third a small pagoda.  Insects, probably dragonflies, lie on the rocks.  A bat flies over the treetops, suggesting twilight.  The last panel features another scene within a similar garden setting. Once again we see the rocky outcrops, bamboo plants, one tea house and a pagoda.  In the foreground, a crouching tiger approaches a bird standing on the ground.  The bird’s mate perches above, in the branches of a nearby tree.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFrom 1802 – 1839, the area we now refer to as Vietnam, was a member of the Imperial Chinese Tributary system.  Tribute was paid to the Chinese emperor on a regular basis in recognition of China’s superior power and in respect of China’s role as the arbiter of disputes between countries within the region.  This relationship has been described as similar to that of a big brother with his little brother.  Indeed, the province of Annam had been part of the Chinese Imperial Tributary system since the 14\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ecentury, when initially, tribute took the form of virgin girls, servants and eunuchs.  As the dominant power in the immediate area, the Nguyen emperors viewed Cambodia and Laos as their tributary states and tried to establish an Imperial Vietnamese tributary system based on the Chinese model.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBy 1885, Chinese influence in the region had declined and the French had conquered the whole of Vietnam which became part of French Indochina, their colonial holdings in South East Asia, although they retained the Vietnamese Emperor as a nominal figurehead.  During World War II the French were, in turn, ousted by the Japanese who proclaimed an independent Vietnam in 1945, marking the end of the Nguyen dynasty.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:-\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e European art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions:- \u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003eHeight 9.4cms; Length 25cms; Width 15cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:- \u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e 1,110  grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:-\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAdrien von Ferscht, Chinese Export Silver 1785 - 1940 The Definitive Collectors' Guide, 4th Edition\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003ePatricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art, A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Tuttle Publishing, Singapore 2008\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Vietnamese Silver Box, Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam – Late 19th Century

Product Description

This highly decorative antique silver hinged box was made in Vietnam and dates to the time of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), most probably to the late 19th century. To the underside of the base, the box has been inscribed with the words ‘VINH – SADEC’.  Other pieces of silver with the same inscription have been recorded and this mark, together with an illustration, is mentioned in the 4th Edition of ‘Chinese Export Silver 1785-1940 The Definitive Collectors’ Guide’.  Von Ferscht explains that this is a Vietnamese and not a Chinese mark and that this inscription is also not a maker’s mark per se but states that various articles of silverware bearing the mark are known, with examples dating from the mid to late 19th century.  Vinh and Sadec are cities in Vietnam; the former is located in the centre of Vietnam and the latter in the Meking Delta, which was a focus of growth under French rule.  The French colonial administrators championed and encouraged the heritage arts of Indochina, promoting their development through supportive educational establishments and a series of large showcase exhibitions in France.

The box has been ornamented across almost the entire exterior surface, bar the underside.  The effect of the ornamentation is rich and pleasing, demonstrating great subtlety and delicacy of touch, with the Chinese influence clearly visible.  The ornamentation of the principal panels is of particular merit, showing great skill and mastery of the medium.  The scenes themselves are almost paradisical; joyful glimpses of an enchanted world where the flora and fauna are prolific and the animals have the freedom to frolic at their pleasure. 

The background surrounding the fine scenic panels is reminiscent of a woven textile such as brocade whilst the panels to the side of the cover have the appearance of woven ribbons.  The silver ground within the principal panel, which adorns the top of the cover, has been exceptionally subtly incised to represent the water in the scene.  In this area, the silver appears to shimmer in the light, emulating the play of light upon rippling water.  The scene portrays pine trees, bamboos, grasses, ferns, chrysanthemums and lotus flowers.  Two pairs of birds are perched up in the trees and a pair of peacocks stand on the rocks in the foreground.  They are practicing displaying their tails, a courtship ritual.  Up above, a female peahen flies amongst the trees in the canopy.  The positioning of the lotus flowers suggests that a small lake, or pool, occupies the central area of the scene. A myriad of butterflies and dragonflies cover the whole area.  The border surrounding this scene has a pinked edge to the exterior.  A bat is depicted at each corner; these are auspicious motifs.  Between the bats lies a repeating ribbon border of alternating floral and foliate elements which borders the scene to all sides. 

Lengths of a similar repeating ‘ribbon’ of two different alternating floral elements appear again, this time framed as panels, one length appearing on each side of the cover.  They are surrounded by a repeating patterned background of small trellis design where each space in the trellis is occupied by a simple quatrefoil, calling to mind a textile, such as silk brocade.  This same ‘brocade’ background has also been used around the sides of the container, acting as a foil to the large scenic panels, which have been fashioned on the four sides, and bringing cohesion to the whole design.

The wide panel to the front of the box depicts a pair of cockerels who are staring at each other.  They are watched by a small hen.  Contemplative scholars’ rocks can be seen to the left and right of this scene with small plants and ferns growing out of the holes in the stone. To the left of the scene are chrysanthemums and bamboo, to the right a plum tree in full blossom with a pair of parrots roosting in the boughs.  Once again, butterflies fill the sky.

The wide panel to the back of the box depicts a grove of pine and bamboo.  In the centre of the grassy clearing are a male and a female deer.   Again, there are chrysanthemums, butterflies and scholars’ rocks.  Five birds - two of which are thought to be cranes – can be seen flying or standing.

The two panels to the shorter ends depict scenes in a similar vein.  One shows a tranquil scene which appears to be set in a scholar’s garden.  Banana trees - much loved for the sound of the rain falling on their leaves - pine trees and bamboo plants grow between rocky outcrops.  There are three small buildings, two are small tea houses or summer houses and the third a small pagoda.  Insects, probably dragonflies, lie on the rocks.  A bat flies over the treetops, suggesting twilight.  The last panel features another scene within a similar garden setting. Once again we see the rocky outcrops, bamboo plants, one tea house and a pagoda.  In the foreground, a crouching tiger approaches a bird standing on the ground.  The bird’s mate perches above, in the branches of a nearby tree.

From 1802 – 1839, the area we now refer to as Vietnam, was a member of the Imperial Chinese Tributary system.  Tribute was paid to the Chinese emperor on a regular basis in recognition of China’s superior power and in respect of China’s role as the arbiter of disputes between countries within the region.  This relationship has been described as similar to that of a big brother with his little brother.  Indeed, the province of Annam had been part of the Chinese Imperial Tributary system since the 14th century, when initially, tribute took the form of virgin girls, servants and eunuchs.  As the dominant power in the immediate area, the Nguyen emperors viewed Cambodia and Laos as their tributary states and tried to establish an Imperial Vietnamese tributary system based on the Chinese model.

By 1885, Chinese influence in the region had declined and the French had conquered the whole of Vietnam which became part of French Indochina, their colonial holdings in South East Asia, although they retained the Vietnamese Emperor as a nominal figurehead.  During World War II the French were, in turn, ousted by the Japanese who proclaimed an independent Vietnam in 1945, marking the end of the Nguyen dynasty.

Provenance:-  European art market

Dimensions:-  Height 9.4cms; Length 25cms; Width 15cms

Weight:-   1,110  grammes

References:-

Adrien von Ferscht, Chinese Export Silver 1785 - 1940 The Definitive Collectors' Guide, 4th Edition

Patricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art, A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Tuttle Publishing, Singapore 2008

 

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