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Chinese Sycee Silver Braclet

This is the most expressive piece of jewelry in the collection. The stone head with its aged patina... the delicately carved scales of the dragonfish that surround the head ...suggest a story ... a story that goes back to the period of the Second Opium War (1856-1860).

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08-10-15 Chinese Sycee Silver Braclet

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One of the great American experts on objects from the "China trade' is Carl Crossman... his books are on every collector's shelf ...and for many years he appeared on the PBS Network's Antiques Road show as an appraiser.

When this bracelet appeared with an unusual mark: SYCEE #23, I searched his book "Decorative Arts of the China Trade" for a remembered paragraph... Crossman describes an ornate Chinese silver ewer with this engraving: "This jug is made from Sycee silver taken from the Chinese at the storming and capture of the Taku Forts, August, 1860." (Sycee is a type of silver ingot).

Descriptions of the battles at Taku say "The forts were surrounded by liquid mud and swampland... with deep water courses intersecting it in all directions".

This bracelet suggest water... the silver in the form of two dragonfish that surround the head... a stone that looks like a chunk of mud ... the patina of a stone that has been under water or buried.

The Crossman reference shows that keepsakes were made of Sycee silver from Taku it possible this very unusual bracelet is one of them?

Singapore RE 2.5.2