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This is the only pair of large-sized Chinese export silver bowls of which we are aware. The pair is published in Marlowe (1990, p. 72-73).
Each has been very finely chased with essentially identical scenes from Chinese legends. Included are dozens of figures in court dress, Chinese pavilions, an altar, trees, banner holders, and so on, all against finely tooled backgrounds.
Each bowl has a plain ring, slightly-flared foot. The rims at the top are reinforced as well.
According to Marlowe (1990, p. 73), ‘The sheer size of these bowls gave the silversmith uncommon scope to depict in detail an extensive variety of Chinese activities as a continuous scene. Although full of action and detail, the pictorial scheme avoids any impression of being crowded. No other pair of bowls of such size and quality has been noted.’
Each bowl is stamped to the base 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 bowls are in excellent condition. They are exceptionally rare in the field of Chinese export silver, and are of museum quality given their quality and uniqueness.
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.