Inventory no.: 3137

Sino-Tibetan Tea Bowl


Sino-Tibetan Gold & Silver Inlaid Iron Bowl

Tibet or China, probably Chamdo, Eastern Tibet

17th-18th century

diameter: 10cm, height: 6cm, weight: 207g

This pleasing tea bowl comprises iron sides and an iron flared foot, silver and gold inlay, and a sheet silver rim. The inlay comprises four fields of silver scrollwork, separated by four long-life ‘Shu’ symbols inlaid in gold. The flared foot is inlaid in silver with repeated Buddhistic reverse swastika motifs.

The inlay-on-iron work is reminiscent of such work undertaken in workshops in Chamdo in Eastern Tibet, which was a famous metal working centre. The inlay design was achieved by lightly scoring the iron surface and then hammering on gold and silver, which are softer metals, onto the surface. (The process is known today as damascening, after the city of Damascus, which was once renowned for this technique.)

Moonflask-like ewers used for

chaang are the best known examples of metalwork produced in Chamdo.

The bowl is in fine condition with an excellent patina. There is age and use-related wear to the inlay – mostly to the gold Shu symbols.


Reynolds, V., Tibet: A Lost World: The Newark Museum Collection of Tibetan Art and Ethnology, The American Federation of Arts, 1978.Provenance:

UK art market

Inventory no.: 3137