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Masterpieces of Early Chinese Gold and Silver | Christie's

Ancient China is famed for its love of bronze and jade, but gold and silver also have a tale to tell. Our Chinese Works of Art specialist Michelle Cheng showcases an array of luxurious gold and silver objects that were created in China between the 6th century BC and the 9th century AD.

Picking up a gold headdress, above, dating to the 7th-9th century AD, the specialist explains that it represents a high point in gold craftsmanship. ‘It is a really amazing example of the cross-cultural exchanges that are happening in China during this time period.’

Pointing to the galloping horse motif at each end of the headdress, Cheng says that they reference the nomadic culture of tribes that lived on the steppes of central Asia. The hooves of the powerful steed barely touch the ground — indeed, it has been elevated to mythical status, with antlers and flames leaping from its haunches. In contrast, the floral patterns on the band are evocative of Tang-dynasty woven textiles. ‘It’s really the marriage of two cultures seen in one object,’ says Cheng.

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