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{"id":5514935959702,"title":"Antique Chinese Gilded Copper Circular Lidded Box, China – 17th Century","handle":"antique-chinese-gilded-copper-circular-lidded-box-china-17th-century","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis delightful antique Chinese gilded copper box has a pull-off cover and the interior has also been richly gilded. Metal testing revealed that around 20% of the metal content of the box is gold. It is likely that this container was made to hold cosmetics, snuff, or possibly incense.  Finely crafted repousse and chased work ornaments the surface of the cover and the side of the box.  The beautifully composed scene is well balanced. It features a gentleman scholar returning home in the springtime. This scene was a favourite and recurring theme of Chinese court and professional painters during the Ming dynasty and is understood to represent a return home after a pleasant spring outing filled with wine and poetry.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe scene to the cover shows a scholar sitting astride his horse. A servant walks behind his master carrying a bundle. They are approaching a small bridge leading towards a pagoda.  The water underneath the bridge is fast flowing and turbulent, indicating that the river is swollen with melted snow.  It is springtime and the two large cherry trees behind the bridge are in full blossom with birds flying around and perching on their branches.  A fu (foo) dog can be seen in the sky above. Rocks, trees and plants are scattered over the foreground.  The upper part of the side of the box is attached to the cover.  This has been gilded but not ornamented. The lower part of the side of the box forms part of the container and has been ornamented in a similar style to the cover. The inclusion of auspicious emblems, such as fu (foo) dogs, are a design characteristic of works from this period.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eScholars were greatly revered and respected within traditional Chinese culture and were in the top echelon of the social hierarchy. The attributes of the ideal scholar derived from Confucian texts and scholars were role models to aspire to.  Great scholars were learned polymaths who could read ancient texts and write with beautiful brush strokes; play music and paint expertly, demonstrating grace and elegance in every aspect. Respect for intellectual ability and academic success was fostered through the Chinese national examination system which was instigated during the Tang dynasty and offered a pathway to upward social mobility for successful candidates.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe background to the repousse and chased scene on the cover has been extremely finely punched and shows evidence of having been worked in tight concentric circles, emanating from the central point.  The background to the side is very similar but has been worked differently, this time in straight lines which circumnavigate the box.  The box bears no silver marks as was usual at this time.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore have an almost identical box to this one within their collection which dates to the 17\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have a carved ivory medallion from the Ming dynasty within their collection which also features a similar scene.  This dates to the late 16\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\/early 17\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThere are striking similarities between the cover of this box and the ornamentation to the panels of a very early silver teapot held within the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The teapot was made before 1680 in China and bears no Chinese marks but bears London hallmarks for 1682. The similarities are so striking as to raise the question of whether this box was made by the same hand or created within the same workshop. Writing in 2014, Adrien von Ferscht provided a description of the Peabody Essex teapot. ‘The body has six shaped oval panels cast and chased with a scene, three symbolic of spring with a scholar on  horseback with servant behind in search of plum blossom, crossing a bridge within plum blossom, pine and bamboo with a bird above, all on matted ground, and three alternate panels almost identically cast but with pagoda to the left and fu dogs above.’ \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e          \u003c\/strong\u003eUK art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSize:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                       Height:  2 cms, Width:  7 cms (approx.) \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:                \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e90 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, accession number 2016-00227\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, collection number 1993.176\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePeabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, collection number E82766.AB\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAdrien von Ferscht @ chinese-export-silver.com  ‘Chinese Export \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSilver: The Longest Tea Party the  World’s Ever Seen Part 1,  \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e中國出口銀器\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e: \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e有史以來最長的茶具\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003e之\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e一\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e, 18\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e January 2014\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-09-03T04:00:26+01:00","created_at":"2020-07-23T09:36:54+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"","tags":["18th Century And Earlier","Chinese Export Silver","Sold Archive"],"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":35372333367446,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":false,"name":"Antique Chinese Gilded Copper Circular Lidded Box, China – 17th Century","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":0,"weight":0,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_management":"shopify","barcode":"","requires_selling_plan":false,"selling_plan_allocations":[]}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Circular-Lidded-Box-China_17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100656","\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100656","\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Superb-Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100639"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Circular-Lidded-Box-China_17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100656","options":["Title"],"media":[{"alt":null,"id":11000631853206,"position":1,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"width":1200,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Circular-Lidded-Box-China_17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100639"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Circular-Lidded-Box-China_17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100639","width":1200},{"alt":null,"id":11000631820438,"position":2,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"width":1200,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100638"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100638","width":1200},{"alt":null,"id":11000631885974,"position":3,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"width":1200,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Superb-Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100638"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":1200,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/Superb-Antique-Chinese-Gilded-Copper-Box-17th-Century.jpg?v=1599100638","width":1200}],"requires_selling_plan":false,"selling_plan_groups":[],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThis delightful antique Chinese gilded copper box has a pull-off cover and the interior has also been richly gilded. Metal testing revealed that around 20% of the metal content of the box is gold. It is likely that this container was made to hold cosmetics, snuff, or possibly incense.  Finely crafted repousse and chased work ornaments the surface of the cover and the side of the box.  The beautifully composed scene is well balanced. It features a gentleman scholar returning home in the springtime. This scene was a favourite and recurring theme of Chinese court and professional painters during the Ming dynasty and is understood to represent a return home after a pleasant spring outing filled with wine and poetry.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe scene to the cover shows a scholar sitting astride his horse. A servant walks behind his master carrying a bundle. They are approaching a small bridge leading towards a pagoda.  The water underneath the bridge is fast flowing and turbulent, indicating that the river is swollen with melted snow.  It is springtime and the two large cherry trees behind the bridge are in full blossom with birds flying around and perching on their branches.  A fu (foo) dog can be seen in the sky above. Rocks, trees and plants are scattered over the foreground.  The upper part of the side of the box is attached to the cover.  This has been gilded but not ornamented. The lower part of the side of the box forms part of the container and has been ornamented in a similar style to the cover. The inclusion of auspicious emblems, such as fu (foo) dogs, are a design characteristic of works from this period.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eScholars were greatly revered and respected within traditional Chinese culture and were in the top echelon of the social hierarchy. The attributes of the ideal scholar derived from Confucian texts and scholars were role models to aspire to.  Great scholars were learned polymaths who could read ancient texts and write with beautiful brush strokes; play music and paint expertly, demonstrating grace and elegance in every aspect. Respect for intellectual ability and academic success was fostered through the Chinese national examination system which was instigated during the Tang dynasty and offered a pathway to upward social mobility for successful candidates.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe background to the repousse and chased scene on the cover has been extremely finely punched and shows evidence of having been worked in tight concentric circles, emanating from the central point.  The background to the side is very similar but has been worked differently, this time in straight lines which circumnavigate the box.  The box bears no silver marks as was usual at this time.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore have an almost identical box to this one within their collection which dates to the 17\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have a carved ivory medallion from the Ming dynasty within their collection which also features a similar scene.  This dates to the late 16\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\/early 17\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThere are striking similarities between the cover of this box and the ornamentation to the panels of a very early silver teapot held within the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The teapot was made before 1680 in China and bears no Chinese marks but bears London hallmarks for 1682. The similarities are so striking as to raise the question of whether this box was made by the same hand or created within the same workshop. Writing in 2014, Adrien von Ferscht provided a description of the Peabody Essex teapot. ‘The body has six shaped oval panels cast and chased with a scene, three symbolic of spring with a scholar on  horseback with servant behind in search of plum blossom, crossing a bridge within plum blossom, pine and bamboo with a bird above, all on matted ground, and three alternate panels almost identically cast but with pagoda to the left and fu dogs above.’ \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e          \u003c\/strong\u003eUK art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSize:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                       Height:  2 cms, Width:  7 cms (approx.) \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:                \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e90 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, accession number 2016-00227\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, collection number 1993.176\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePeabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, collection number E82766.AB\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAdrien von Ferscht @ chinese-export-silver.com  ‘Chinese Export \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSilver: The Longest Tea Party the  World’s Ever Seen Part 1,  \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e中國出口銀器\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e: \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e有史以來最長的茶具\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003e之\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e一\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e, 18\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e January 2014\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Chinese Gilded Copper Circular Lidded Box, China – 17th Century

Product Description

This delightful antique Chinese gilded copper box has a pull-off cover and the interior has also been richly gilded. Metal testing revealed that around 20% of the metal content of the box is gold. It is likely that this container was made to hold cosmetics, snuff, or possibly incense.  Finely crafted repousse and chased work ornaments the surface of the cover and the side of the box.  The beautifully composed scene is well balanced. It features a gentleman scholar returning home in the springtime. This scene was a favourite and recurring theme of Chinese court and professional painters during the Ming dynasty and is understood to represent a return home after a pleasant spring outing filled with wine and poetry.

The scene to the cover shows a scholar sitting astride his horse. A servant walks behind his master carrying a bundle. They are approaching a small bridge leading towards a pagoda.  The water underneath the bridge is fast flowing and turbulent, indicating that the river is swollen with melted snow.  It is springtime and the two large cherry trees behind the bridge are in full blossom with birds flying around and perching on their branches.  A fu (foo) dog can be seen in the sky above. Rocks, trees and plants are scattered over the foreground.  The upper part of the side of the box is attached to the cover.  This has been gilded but not ornamented. The lower part of the side of the box forms part of the container and has been ornamented in a similar style to the cover. The inclusion of auspicious emblems, such as fu (foo) dogs, are a design characteristic of works from this period.

Scholars were greatly revered and respected within traditional Chinese culture and were in the top echelon of the social hierarchy. The attributes of the ideal scholar derived from Confucian texts and scholars were role models to aspire to.  Great scholars were learned polymaths who could read ancient texts and write with beautiful brush strokes; play music and paint expertly, demonstrating grace and elegance in every aspect. Respect for intellectual ability and academic success was fostered through the Chinese national examination system which was instigated during the Tang dynasty and offered a pathway to upward social mobility for successful candidates.

The background to the repousse and chased scene on the cover has been extremely finely punched and shows evidence of having been worked in tight concentric circles, emanating from the central point.  The background to the side is very similar but has been worked differently, this time in straight lines which circumnavigate the box.  The box bears no silver marks as was usual at this time.

The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore have an almost identical box to this one within their collection which dates to the 17th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have a carved ivory medallion from the Ming dynasty within their collection which also features a similar scene.  This dates to the late 16th/early 17th century.

There are striking similarities between the cover of this box and the ornamentation to the panels of a very early silver teapot held within the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The teapot was made before 1680 in China and bears no Chinese marks but bears London hallmarks for 1682. The similarities are so striking as to raise the question of whether this box was made by the same hand or created within the same workshop. Writing in 2014, Adrien von Ferscht provided a description of the Peabody Essex teapot. ‘The body has six shaped oval panels cast and chased with a scene, three symbolic of spring with a scholar on  horseback with servant behind in search of plum blossom, crossing a bridge within plum blossom, pine and bamboo with a bird above, all on matted ground, and three alternate panels almost identically cast but with pagoda to the left and fu dogs above.’ 

Provenance:          UK art market

Size:                       Height:  2 cms, Width:  7 cms (approx.) 

Weight:                 90 grammes

References:

 

The Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, accession number 2016-00227

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, collection number 1993.176

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, collection number E82766.AB

Adrien von Ferscht @ chinese-export-silver.com  ‘Chinese Export Silver: The Longest Tea Party the  World’s Ever Seen Part 1,   中國出口銀器: 有史以來最長的茶具 , 18th January 2014

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