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Eric Hill Papercraft Studio

Qing Dynasty Chinese Export Silver & Enamel Opium Box with 2 Trays - Enamel Foo Dogs and Chrysanthemum

Qing Dynasty Chinese Export Silver & Enamel Opium Box with 2 Trays - Enamel Foo Dogs and Chrysanthemum

Regular price $365.00 USD
Regular price $485.99 USD Sale price $365.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Qing Dynasty - excellent condition Foo Dog Silver with enamel hand-painted opium box and 2 interior trays.

The wooden box liners are in very good condition, with slight markations on the upper lid (see photos). One interior tray shows a slight patina.

For the age of the box and trays, the set is in excellent condition, with the expected, natural discoloration of the silver and patina aging on one tray. There are no broken or bent pieces, and the lid lifts very smoothly. There are no silver markings indicating the amount of actual silver present but the box does not attract or hold a magnet.

Chinese Export Silver

Chinese Export Silver was a mixture of silver and other elements - more information about the types of silver used during that time is available on the internet.

The Chinese Export Qing dynasty era (1644-1912) saw a significant increase in trade between China and Western countries, leading to a surge in the production and export of luxury items such as Silver-plated and enamel Chinese Foo Dog Opium boxes.

  1. The use of opium in China dates back to ancient times, but it became a major social and economic issue during the Qing dynasty. Opium boxes were often used as storage containers for the drug, which was illegally imported into China by European traders.

  2. Chinese Foo Dogs, also known as Imperial Guardian Lions, have a long history in Chinese culture as symbols of protection and wealth. These mythical creatures were often depicted on opium boxes to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the user.

  3. Silver-plating was a popular technique used in the production of luxury items during the Qing dynasty, as it gave a shiny and durable finish to the metal. Chinese artisans excelled in silver-plating techniques, creating intricate designs and patterns on opium boxes.

  4. Enamel work, another traditional Chinese art form, was often used to enhance the beauty of opium boxes. Enamel is a type of glass that is fused to metal at high temperatures, creating vibrant colors and intricate designs.

  5. The export of Chinese opium boxes to Western countries was a lucrative business during the Qing dynasty, with European collectors and merchants eagerly purchasing these exotic and decorative items as status symbols.

  6. Today, Silver-plated and enamel Chinese Foo Dog Opium boxes are highly sought after by collectors and museums for their historical significance and exquisite craftsmanship. These rare and unique artifacts provide a glimpse into the cultural exchange and trade relationships between China and the West during the Qing dynasty era.

Material stamped CHINA on bottom of box and is 4 3/4" x 3 3/4" ; 2 trays are 3 7/8" x 3 1/8" also stamped CHINA; appx 407 grams; no marking as to silver content. See pics.

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