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  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    650-750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased and punched silver

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 4

Silver objects were not as highly coveted in China as in other ancient civilisations such as the Roman or the Parthian, but they became important luxury items for emperors and high-ranking officials during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-960). By the beginning of the 7th century large quantities of silver pieces with exotic shapes and styles were imported along the Silk Road from Iran and Central Asia to China. Chinese craftsmen often reproduced foreign shapes and acquired new manufacturing techniques from Central Asian silversmiths who had settled in Chinese urban centres beginning in the mid 7th century.

This small, handled cup was used to drink alcohol; its shape and the chased decoration of floral scrolls both suggest the influence of similar Sasanian silver examples.

Physical description

Silver cup of inverted bell shape with small hollow foot and loop handle with thumb piece, decorated with a chased design of floral scrolls on a ground of finely punched dots.

Place of Origin

China (made)


650-750 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Chased and punched silver


Height: 5.1 cm, Diameter: 6.5 cm

Descriptive line

Silver cup with handle, China, Tang dynasty (618-960)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Rose Kerr, Chinese Art and Design. The T.T.Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, London: Victoria and Albert Publications, 1991, p. 172, fig. 78
Whitfield, Susan. The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith. London: The British Library, 2004, p. 239, pl. 170.

Labels and date

Cup with floral design
Tang dynasty

Chased silver
Museum no. M.32-1935
From the Eumorfopoulos collection, purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee [Art Fund logo] [2007]




Chasing; Punching

Subjects depicted

Dots; Floral scrolls


Drinking; Metalwork


East Asia Collection

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