This large punch bowl by the well known silver-smithing firm of Wang Hing, is a stunning example of Chinese export silver. It is monumental in every aspect.
It comprises a large, wide body decorated on the exterior with many sinuous dragons and floating clouds against a ‘cracked ice’ background. The exterior decoration has been chased onto silver plaques that have then been applied to the smooth exterior. The walls are thick and the bowl is heavy in the hand.
Each side also has a central, tear-shaped ‘flaming pearl’ cartouche engraved finely with the initials ‘CJM’ on one and ‘JDB’ on the other. On each side there are applied, elaborate dragon handles. The bowl sits on a plain ring foot.
The interior is plain and highly polished, and is itself quite marvellous with its sweeping contours.
The foot is engraved with the message ‘Katherine A Myers, to her brother Theodorus’ Wife, Catalina J Mason Myers. February 25th 1903.’ Theodorus Bailey Myers (1821-1888) was an American lawyer, philanthropist, served as a colonel in the US Military, a collector of books and historical manuscripts which were donated to the collection was donated to the New York Public Library on his death, and founding fellow of the American Geographical Society. (Among his collection was a complete set of autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.)
His image is shown below.
The foot of the bowl is stamped with ‘WH’ for Wang Hing, ’90’ and a Chinese ideogram.
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 bowl is in excellent condition.
Its massiveness and fineness marks it out as exceptional and rare.
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.