Silver Cane Top Overlaid with Gold, signed ‘Vinh – Sa Dec’
Sa Dec, Vietnam
height: 8cm; diameter at widest point: 3.2cm; weight: 45g
This unusual and exceptionally fine cane top is of chased silver overlaid in part with gold. It shows various forest animals including deer, a peacock, butterflies and smaller birds with rocks, coniferous foliage, bamboo, large-headed chrysanthemums and other plants, all against a finely tooled background. The lower frieze comprises scrolling foliage and flowers. The top is finely chased with a laurel of leaves and flowers. This and the other details are overlaid with high-carat gold.
The piece has a maker’s mark – ‘Vinh – Sa Dec’. ‘Vinh’ is a male middle name which in Vietnamese means ‘bay’ or ‘gulf’. And Sa Dec is a city in the Mekong Delta area of southern Vietnam. Traditionally it has had a mixed Vietnamese and Sino-Vietnamese population. Most likely this cane top is the product of a Sino-Vietnamese craftsman.
The French writer Marguerite Duras lived in Sa Dec during the 1920 whilst a teenage. She and Huynh Thuy Le, the son of a wealthy Chinese family, became lovers and their affair was the basis for Duras’ 1984 Prix Goncourt-winning novel,
Inventory no.: 854