In honor of the Spring, we have been sharing some of our florally-inspired items over the past few days. Enjoy the Spring season—and the flowers which delightfully distinguish the Spring.
The Qing Dynasty ruled China for over 275 years, from 1636 to 1912. Manchurian (Northeastern) factions took control of the country, made Peking (Beijing) its capital, and established the basic geographic boundaries which define Modern China today.
Although Europeans had established contact (and some trade) with China before the Qing Dynasty, it was during the Qing Dynasty that trade (and the complications of international friction) really grew. Chinese silk, tea, spices and ceramics were highly coveted by Europeans during the Qing Period. It seems the Chinese, on the other hand, were not very interested in importing many European (or English) goods. They wanted silver—which soon created a silver shortage crisis in England. That's when the Brits started supplementing their silver payments with opium. This caused a whole new raft of problems—for the Chinese as well as the European merchant-traders.
The Qing Dynasty ended with the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China replaced the Qing Dynasty (China's last imperial dynasty). In a few years, 1949, the Chinese Civil War would drive the leaders of the Republic of China to the island of Taiwan. Communist leaders, under Mao Zedong, created the People's Republic of China and closed down contact with the West with the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
The Qing Chinese box above, made around 1900 - 1910, is from the very last days of the Qing Dynasty (indeed, the very end of Imperial China). Heavy brass is decorated with enameled cloisonné—wire partitions filled with glass powder (which is subsequently fired to the melting point and cooled to form colored glass). A traditional Chinese sange de boeuf ("oxblood") background is embellished with scrolling floral-botanical decoration. A pierced and carved jade medallion is mounted to the cover. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome, beautifully-made box.
More Springtime flowers tomorrow and in the days to come.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248