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Chinese Export Silver Cotton Reel Holder
Southern China
18th-19th century

length: 6cm, weight: 38g

This very unusual egg-shaped box most probably was made to hold a reel of cotton. The hinged lid flips open to reveal a central post around which cotton
could have been wound.

The outside is chased with grapevines, grapes and squirrels or tree shews. Such motifs occasionally appear in Chinese export silver - see for example the
cover photograph of Forbes (1975) and Marlowe (1990, p. 27, p. 43)

The top is fitted with a small silver eyelet through which is a small hoop.

The item is extremely well made - the walls are double-walled which is remarkable for such a small and curved item.

The box is not marked; no similar item with such a form seems to have been published. The item is in excellent condition.

References:
Forbes, H.A.C. et al, Chinese Export Silver 1785-1885, Museum of the American China Trade, 1975.
Marlowe, A.J.,
Chinese Export Silver, John Sparks, 1990.

Provenance:  UK art market

Inventory no.: 3013

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