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Silk Road Luxuries from China

Luxury Goods

The wealthy and powerful Chinese who lived in and near the Tang capital at Chang'an (modern Xi'an) were interested in foreign styles and customs. Sumptuous gold and silver objects were prized as status symbols among these urban elites. To compete with highly valued imports, metropolitan workshops incorporated metalworking techniques from the west to produce Chinese variations of silver wine cups and lidded boxes.

These exceptional silver objects were probably made in Chang'an, Shaanxi province, during the early or mid-Tang dynasty (late seventh to early eighth century). They were created by casting (pouring liquid metal into a mold) and/or hammering the metal into shape. Decorations of dense, overall patterns were added using the metalworking techniques of repoussé, chasing, and ring-punching.

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Lobed Bowl



As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.