This exceptionally fine Chinese export silver hip flask is plain on the reverse, and on the front, is decorated boldly and in high relief with a dragon frolicking amid stylised clouds against a tooled background.
The lid or cap is hinged and has a bayonette closing mechanism. The maker’s mark ‘WH’ and ’90’ appear on the inside of the lid.
The form is rounded and rectangular, and slightly curved to fit the natural contours of the hip.
This actual flask is illustrated in Marlowe (1990, p. 91) with the remarks that such a flask is ‘a rare form in Chinese export silver, effectively treated with the highlights plainly polished against the fine grain ground.’
Wang Hing was a firm that was active in Guangdong (Canton) and Hong Kong in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and first quarter of the twentieth century.
The flask here is in excellent condition.
Chan, D.P.L., Chinese Export Silver: The Chan Collection, published in conjunction with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.
Forbes, H.A.C. et al, Chinese Export Silver 1785-1885, Museum of the American China Trade, 1975.
Marlowe, A.J., Chinese Export Silver, John Sparks, 1990.