Enquiry about object: 6450

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Mongolian Silver & Jade Vase or Brushpot

19th century

height: 21cm, weight: 551g



UK art market

This fine vessel comprises a jade cylinder open at one end, with silver mounts shaped as an entwining dragon reaching into a mass of stylised clouds, and with a rim of silver inset with coral and turquoise plaques.

The dragon beneath the jade is matched with a stylised phoenix attached to the rim of the vessel from which a fine quartz ring is suspended.

It is part of a group of elaborate vessels that typically comprise hard stone with silver mounts and turquoise and coral decoration that are believed to have been made in Mongolia, often as presentation pieces.

The precise function of the vessel here is unclear. It might have been intended as a vase, a brush pot or perhaps as an incense stick holder to decorate an altar.

Pal (1969, p. 306) illustrates what is described as a ceremonial ewer which features similar silver-smithing and motifs to that seen on the vessel here and which is attributed to circa 1800 Eastern Tibet or Mongolia. It is likely that the Pal vessel is later and from Mongolia. Pal summarises also that they might have been made in China perhaps for the Himalayan market or inspired by Himalayan motifs. Another possibility is that there were workshops in Mongolia with local Chinese craftsmen producing such luxury items for the local aristocracy and nobles who used them and also presented them as diplomatic gifts.

The item here is in fine condition and has obvious age.


Pal. P., The Art of Tibet, The Asia Society, 1969.

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