Silver box of hexagonal form

Silver box of hexagonal form

Late Qing dynasty to early People’s Republic of China, circa 1900 – 20
Length: 6 3/4 inches, 17 cm
Height: 3 3/4 inches, 9.5 cm

Silver box of hexagonal form
Silver box of hexagonal form

A hinged silver box of hexagonal form with a slightly domed cover. The cover and the straight sides are decorated with intricate repoussé and pierced designs of birds flying among flowers and leafy branches, against a ‘cracked-ice’ ground. The designs on each side are enclosed in a foliate cartouche. The flat base bears a two-character mark ‘Da Fu’, supposedly the workshop’s name.


This beautifully made silver box with its openwork design epitomises the quality of the workmanship of Chinese silversmiths. The floral design against a ’cracked-ice’ ground became popular during the Kangxi period (1662 – 1722), as the ‘cracked-ice’ ground was said to imitate that of the cracked glaze found on Guan ceramic wares of the Song dynasty (960 – 1279). Some comparable export silver pieces are in the Chait collection, including a repoussé circular box similarly decorated with prunus branches and flowers against a cracked-ice background,[1] and a hemispherical bowl; its sides ajouré with chased chrysanthemum buds and leaves.[2]

  1. Keman, J. D. The Chait Collection of Chinese Export Silver, Chait Galleries, New York, 1985, no. 189, p. 178
  2. 2 Keman, J. D. op. cit. no. 129, p. 134

清末 – 民國初年 約1900-20 年代
長:17 公分 高:9.5 公分 「大福」底款