Non Western

Bringing Heaven to Earth: Chinese Silver Jewellery and Ornament in the Late Qing Dynasty

PUBLISHED TO COINCIDE WITH ASIAN ART IN LONDON (3–12 November 2016)

Bringing Heaven to Earth: Chinese Silver Jewellery and Ornament in the Late Qing Dynasty

Paperback, 280 x 240 mm 200 pages, 150 images
PRICE: £40.00
ISBN: 978 0 9955577 0 3

 

Elizabeth Herridge with a foreword by Frances Wood

Published by Ianthe Press in collaboration with Paul Holberton publishing. 


"A beautifully designed book with a wealth of material … enjoyable strictly for the beautiful photography, but also for anyone with a serious interest in Chinese jewellery." —Textile Research Centre 

"Commendable and useful ... the story of jewellery is never just about personal adornment." —Jewellery History Today 

Shining a light on a little-known area of Chinese decorative arts from 1850 to 1930, this lavishly illustrated book presents dazzling jewellery from an important private North American collection. 

Immortals, dragons, magpies, monkeys and bats populate this pioneering book on Chinese jewellery of the late 19th to early 20th century. In so many aspects, these exquisite objects – made with silver, jade, tourmaline, amethyst, rock crystal, rose quartz, carnelian and serpentine – reveal a previously unexplored journey, not just from Heaven to Earth but from the West to the East and back again. 

The appeal of the jewellery is more than just aesthetic, and their varied design and decoration speak of the social, religious, economic and political climate of their time. Their period of production, from the Late Qing dynasty through to the 1930s, is one that has been insufficiently explored by historians as a whole. This was the time when the Treaty Ports attracted foreign residence and tourism, when Western visitors flocked to Shanghai and Peking to buy ‘Chinese’ souvenirs, and when fashionable young Chinese of the Republican period embraced aspects of foreign life and design. Many of the pieces naturally reflect Chinese designs and motifs, particularly in the bold association of colours, their use of ‘re-purposed’ carved plaques and the emphasis on luck-bearing emblems. Western influence creeps in, however, in the form of secure box-and-tongue clasps and the occasional maker’s or retailer’s names, as well as stamps such as ‘Chinese sterling’. Do these makers’ marks suggest that the items were produced for export or do they simply represent a nod to modernity? 

In the many fine photographs and her detailed descriptions of each piece, Elizabeth Herridge offers a full survey of the wide variety of the complex motifs involved and their significance. She presents a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of early 20th-century China, its handicraft production, its commercial activities, and the last gasp of items such as mandarin court necklaces in the face of modern fashions.

Published to coincide with Asian Art in London 2016 (3-12 November) as part of their programme of events. The launch will take place at The London Library on 4 November 2016.

 

Elizabeth Herridge is the former Managing Director of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas. A veteran of Wall Street, she operates a London based specialist art and arts management consultancy (elizabeth-herridge.com). She is a graduate of Wellesley College, SOAS, the Getty Leadership Institute (MLI) and a specialist in Qing Dynasty decorative arts.

Frances Wood is a renowned historian, librarian and sinologue, known for her writings on Chinese history. She was for 30 years curator of the British Library’s Chinese collections. Her many publications include The First Emperor of China (2007), The Lure of China (2009), The Diamond Sutra (2010).


Rare Antique Asian & Colonial Decorative Arts: Michael Backman Ltd

The decorative arts of South and Southeast Asia, and especially those of the 18th and 19th centuries, and trade items produced during the same period, constitute a much neglected area. The objects presented here – ranging from ornate ivory-handled daggers and exquisite silver filigree boxes to an ancient wooden tomb guardian and magnificent embroidered silk – are all of exceptional quality and are often incredibly rare. More

Hakob’s Gospels: The Life and Work of An Armenian Artist of the Sixteenth Century

In the winter of 1586, Hakob Jughayets'i, one of Armenia's most celebrated illuminators, completed work on a Gospel Book with an extensive and extraordinary programme of narrative miniatures and marginal figures. More

MESROP OF XIZAN: An Armenian Master of the Seventeenth Century

Illuminator, painter, scribe, clerk, teacher, doctor of theology, restorer and binder, Mesrop was one of the greatest Armenian artists of his and following generations. He was prolific, working for at least forty-two years in Sos (New Julfa) from 1608 to 1651. This book will be the first serious study of the 46 of his manuscripts that have survived. The focus of the book, however, is The Four Gospels, one of the few manuscripts painted entirely by Mesrop’s hand and one of the most extensively illuminated in his oeuvre. More

Provenance: Twelve Collectors of Ethnographic Art in England 1760–1990

Detailed biographies describe the lives of twelve collectors of tribal art in Britain, active between 1770 and 1990. These men were rarely field collectors and only occasional travellers, but they were vigorous hunters, for whom the pursuit, handling and possession of such objects was what mattered. More

Food for the Flames: Idols and Missionaries in Central Polynesia

Twenty-five years after Captain Cook, the London Missionary Society sent its first representatives to the South Seas. Their goal was to eradicate heathenism and idolatry, but unwittingly, they became agents for the preservation of Polynesian culture through their diligent recording of language and religious practices. They even preserved a number of religious artifacts, which they sent back to England for exhibition in the Mission Museum in London. This book focuses on these artifacts, the idols that avoided the flames. More

Remembering Forward: Paintings of Australian Aborigines Since 1960

Remembering Forward presents works by nine of the most prominent Australian Aboriginal artists: Paddy Bedford, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Queenie McKenzie, Dorothy Napangardi, Rover Thomas, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri and Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula. More

A Library of Manuscripts from India

This beautiful collection of illustrated manuscripts takes the reader on a visual journey through great epics, charged romances and colourful cautionary tales from the Indian subcontinent of the 16th to 20th centuries. More

Missionaries and Idols in Polynesia

This beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue documents the London Missionary Society from its formation to its initial ‘success’ in Polynesia, from roughly 1792 to 1825. Along with historical graphics and archive material – paintings, engravings, books, journals and correspondence of the missionaries – this publication shows some of the idols and artefacts that the missionaries brought back – feather gods and spirit images, necklaces, instruments and tools. More

Endeavouring Banks: Exploring the Collections from the Endeavour Voyage 1768–1771

When English naturalist Joseph Banks accompanied Captain James Cook on his historic mission into the Pacific, he took with him a team of collectors and illustrators. They returned with unprecedented collections of artefacts and specimens of stunning birds, fish and other animals as well as thousands of plants, most seen for the first time in Europe. They produced, too, remarkable landscape and figure drawings along with detailed journals, descriptions and maps of the places visited. This collection – along with contemporary portraits of key personalities aboard the ship, scale models and plans of the ship itself, scientific instruments taken on the voyage, commemorative medals and sketches – will tell the story of the Endeavour voyage and its impact ahead of the 250th anniversary in 2018 of the launch of this seminal mission. More

Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500–1644

A vibrant and in-depth exploration of early globalization – how European intercontinental maritime trade linked up Asia, western Europe and the New World in the early modern period, and what Asian manufactured goods they traded. More