Antique Chinese Silver Snuff Box Hung Chong


Decorated with Two Dragons

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    Circa 1910

    From our Chinese collection, we are pleased to offer this Chinese Silver Dragon Snuff Box. The snuff box of oval form having a hammered decoration to the exterior with a large dragon all the way around the exterior of the body. The top of the snuff box has a central hinged oval shaped lid which also features a second dragon and an initial plaque with two characters 寿福 (Shòufú) which translates directly to Longevity. The interior of the Chinese Silver snuff box is gilded and hallmarked to the inside of the lid HC for Canton and Shanghai silversmith Hung Chong (c. 1860-1930). The Chinese Silver Snuff box dates to the latter stages of the Qing dynasty circa 1910.

    Longevity in Chinese culture represents one of three of the most important goals in life in Chinese traditional thought. These are the propitious blessings of happiness ( ), professional success or prosperity ( 祿), and longevity (shòu ). The Chinese character shòu (壽) is usually found on textiles, furniture, ceramics and jewellery. The ideograph may appear alone or be surrounded by flowers, bats, or other good luck symbols, but will always hold a central position.

    Snuff Boxes were used for containing snuff which is a mixture of ground tobacco and scented oils. Originally from the Americas Snuff became extremely popular in 18th century Europe, it was seen as a status symbol and undertaken by the elite in society. Commissioned snuff boxes of various materials would be bought by high status individuals as a sign of wealth and power.  Snuff boxes became highly prized by collectors from 19th century when snuff was slowly phased out.

    Hung Chong & Co were a prominent Chinese silversmith and retailer, based in Shanghai and operating between circa 1830-1930. Hung Chong also worked from Canton and was known to produce high quality objects and export pieces for the European market.

    Qing Dynasty (officially the Great Qing) was a Manchu-led imperial dynasty of China and the last imperial dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the later Jin dynasty founded by a Tungusic-speaking ethnic group who became known as the Manchus. The dynasty was officially proclaimed in 1636 in Mukden (Shenyang) and following the Battle of Shanhai Pass it seized control of Beijing in 1644, which is often considered the start of the dynasty’s rule in China. Within decades the Qing had consolidated its control over the whole of China proper and Taiwan, and by the mid-18th century it had expanded its rule into Inner Asia. The dynasty lasted until 1912 when it was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution. In Chinese historiography, the Qing dynasty was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The multiethnic Qing dynasty assembled the territorial base for modern China. It was the largest imperial dynasty in the history of China and in 1790 the fourth-largest empire in world history in terms of territorial size. With 419,264,000 citizens in 1907, it was the most populous country in the world at the time. See our article The Qing & I.

    Antique a collectable object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality. Objects of this nature are generally considered antique at 100 plus years of age.

    Measurements  3cm High x 8.5cm Wide x 6.5cm Deep (1.18 x 3.35 x 2.56 Inches)

    Condition Very Good

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