Silver miniature vessel, jue
A miniature silver vessel of archaic bronze jue form, the deep U-shaped body supported on three slender, slightly splayed legs, which end in sharp points. The vessel has a long curved spout, and opposite it a pointed flange. Two circular posts capped by mushroom-shaped finials are raised from the middle of the mouth. A C-shaped handle with a dragon’s head is attached to one side. A single band of engraved decoration containing two stylised dragons encircles the body. The convex base of the vessel bears two marks: Chun Yin (‘pure silver’) and Mei (‘beautiful’).
These delicately made miniature silver vessels, truthfully representing their archaic bronze prototypes that date from the Shang (16th century- c. 1046 BC) or Zhou dynasty (c. 1046 – 221 BC), were probably intended for the local Chinese market. During the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911), collectors are said to have devoted much time to amassing miniature treasures, which they kept in curio cabinets that were fitted out with a series of small compartments. Miniature bronze vessels, many inlaid with gold and silver, were appreciated and treasured by collectors. Such miniature silver pieces might have served the same function, being appreciated in scholar’s studios. A comparable but much larger silver filigree incense burner of archaic fang ding form, dated to the first half of the 18th century, is in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
1 Examples can be found in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, see Kerr, R. Later Chinese Bronzes, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, no. 40, p. 51
2 Menshikova, M. etc. Silver Wonders from the East: Filigree of the Tsars, Waanders Publishers, Zwolle, 2006, cat. no. 12, pp. 63, 104-5
清 十九 – 二十世紀初
銀爵 高：9.5 公分 寬：8.5 公分 「純銀」，「美」底款
銀方鼎 高：5.4 公分 寬：5.1 公分 「純銀」，「美」底款
銀盉 高：9.3 公分 寬：8.5 公分 「紋」底款
迷你銀器三件，器型均源自上古青銅器，依照比例縮製而成。銀爵，長流尖尾，帽頂立柱，器深腹 成圓卵形，腹身兩側各有一周饕餮紋，腹側一邊設有弧形柄。銀鼎，方形四足，雙豎耳，側邊上緣 飾對龍紋一周，四角有突棱脊。銀盉，球狀壺體立於三足，獸首流，另一獸身提樑把張口欲噬。清 代收藏迷你珍玩風氣特盛，仿古迷你銅器深受藏家歡迎，惟此種純銀或紋銀製仿古器甚是少見，與 中國外銷銀典型器不同，應專為中國內銷市場製作。俄國聖彼得堡冬宮中的隱士廬博物館中藏有一 件金銀鏍絲方鼎，亦為仿古銅器型，定年為十八世紀初製品。