List Price £7,500
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By Tu Mao Xing (Chinese, active 1880-1930)
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This beautiful tray is the work of Chinese silversmith Tu Mao Xing (active 1880-1930), one of the foremost practitioners of the fine tradition of late 19th Century Chinese export silver.
Chinese export silver took off in this period, thanks to an increase in the volume of trade between China and the West. Although silver had traditionally been more expensive in China than in Europe, in the second half of the 19th Century rising silver prices on the continent meant that it became advantageous for European nations to import silver from China.
This in turn produced a boom in the Chinese silver trade, as makers competed to produce wares for European consumers. Chinese silversmiths would take distinctively 'European' wares (such as trays, ewers, tazzas and cutlery), and embellish them with Chinese style decorations. These would become hugely popular on the continent.
Tu Mao Xing was one such silversmith and was known for his careful blending of the High Victorian style with more 'traditional' Chinese forms. This fantastic silver tray is a classic European rectangular shape, but is set with a Chinese-style bamboo-form edge and handles. The ground of the tray has also been painstakingly hammered, giving the piece a wonderful sense of texture.
There are silver marks and a maker's mark for Tu Mao Xing on the underside of the tray.
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