small silver dish with raised gold colored decoration of grazing deer, mountains, and bent tree with a monkey; gold band separating scene from wall; lip is decorated with zigzag and spot incised lines

Dish, 1127-1279

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

2018 Accession Highlight

The Chinese began to use silver as a decorative element in the Spring and Autumn period (770 bce–476 bce), and until the Han dynasty (206 bce–220 ce) the metal was used extensively to create jewelry, luxury implements, and religious vessels.

This dish is intricately decorated with a landscape scene of animals on the shores of a lake. The dish shows the advanced metalworking technique of craftspeople in the Southern Song dynasty. The animals and trees are rendered in repoussé (relief created by hammering the reverse of the object) and chasing, and then gilded with gold leaf.

The design in this dish is a remarkable combination of a landscape with animals bearing more or less realistic features. The repoussé (relief patterns made by hammering or pressing on the reverse side) is supplemented by the technique of chasing (decorative indentations on the front of the work). Both the design and technique are unique, and we know of no other work like it.

small silver dish with raised gold colored decoration of grazing deer, mountains, and bent tree with a monkey; gold band separating scene from wall; lip is decorated with zigzag and spot incised lines