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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



The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.