Here at AC Silver we are pleased to be able to offer our customers an exceptional range of antique Chinese and Asian silver for sale.
Our collection of silverware features pieces from all over the continent of Asia, mostly from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
These items are all the finest examples of their type and are in presentation condition. Often, Asian and Chinese silver is beautifully decorated with delicate engraving, and our selection of items display this beautifully.
The stunning craftsmanship and ornamentation of these pieces of Chinese and Asian antique silverware makes them a perfect gift or presentation piece in any home.
We encourage you to peruse our selection of Chinese and Asian antique silver, and hope that you discover a piece which you or your loved one will adore.
Chinese Export Silver is the name given to silverware produced in China from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. These pieces would be crafted for export with merchants trading with China.
In the early 19th century, the Western world commissioned silverware to be reproduced in China, as they could provide items cheaply through melting trade dollars they obtained through trade of their silks, spices and exotic goods.
Through the end of the 19th century Chinese silversmiths developed their own decoration, no longer replicating the European designs. Instead, there became an influx of Chinese dragon and oriental landscape scenes. This lavish ornamentation was a classic and traditional Asian aesthetic, eminently suitable for the highly decorative style of the Victorian era.
Chinese Export Silver (CES) can typically be identified from the ornamentation and hallmarks.
Whilst many Chinese Export Silver items bear hallmarks, there was no silver hallmark regulations in place within China, making the combination of marks more relaxed than British examples; items crafted prior to the late 19th century are often unmarked.
It is possible to locate items hallmarked with pseudo-hallmarks which resemble a formation of British hallmarks. The early Chinese silversmiths replicated pieces brought to them from the West, and without a full understanding of the British hallmarking system, they would copy the full design including the hallmarks. The only hallmark that had valid meaning within these pseudo-hallmarks would be the Latin letters used for their own maker’s mark; however, this style can be used to aid the dating of item.
Chinese silversmiths developed their own hallmarks to include Latin initials of the maker, along with a mark of Chinese characters/ideograms of the artisan silversmith who produced the work under the master silversmith. This ‘character mark’ is known as a chopmark, and was an indication that the named maker ran a workshop with experienced silver makers.
In the absence of an assay system dating an item of Chinese silver can be objective, typically based in relation to the maker and composition of the piece.
Typically, Chinese Export Silver is made of 90% silver (.900, 900/1000 standard). The reason Chinese Export Silver is classically a lower standard that sterling is due to being crafted from Spanish trade dollars; this currency was the only one which the Chinese merchants would accept in exchange for their goods. There are examples of sterling and .800 standard Chinese silver available.