Enquiry about object: 8596

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    Rare Chinese Export Silver Enamel & Gilt Silver Filigree Zarfs for the Ottoman Market

    southern China for the Ottoman Market
    circa 1860

    height: 5.1cm, width: 4.6cm, combined weight: 127g



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This is the only example of Chinese export silver zarfs made for the Ottoman Turkish market of which we are aware.

    Each is of flaring tulip form and was designed to hold a small porcelain cup in which hot, thick Turkish coffee was served.

    Each is made entirely of silver filigree that has been parcel gilded with highlights in blue and green enamel. The sides of each are decorated with five oval cartouches infilled with floral sprays.

    Each stands on a flared foot, and the top rims of each are crenulated.

    The interior of the base of each is fixed with a small silver plaque that has the ‘Gothic K’ maker’s mark alongside a faux Chinese ideogram.

    Significant quantities of Chinese export silver have version of the so-called ‘Gothic K’ mark, a firm that is believed to have operated in the second and third quarters of the 19th century. Most authors believe that the firm was located in Guangdong (Canton). But its precise identity is not known.

    Each of the six is in excellent condition.


    Chan, D.P.L., Chinese Export Silver: The Chan Collection, published in conjunction with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.

    Kernan, J.D., The Chait Collection of Chinese Export Silver, Ralph M. Chait Galleries, 1985.

    Koc, A., et al, Istanbul: The City and the Sultan, Nieuwe Kerk, 2007.

    Forbes, H.A.C. et alChinese Export Silver 1785-1885, Museum of the American China Trade, 1975.

    Marlowe, A.J., Chinese Export Silver, John Sparks, 1990.

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