Filigree is a remarkable method in jewellery-making in which very pure precious metal is drawn into extremely fine threads. These threads are then ingeniously inter-woven to produce almost transparent objects. This book presents for the first time the highlights from the magnificent and unique filigree collection in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
The principal centres of filigree were to be found in China, and Chinese filigree found its way to the countries which traded with China in the 16th and 17th centuries: Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and England. Production centres also developed in India. The Hermitage collection has a large number of works in eastern filigree from the 17th and 18th centuries, mainly from China, India and Indonesia. The 17th-century Chinese pieces are in traditional Chinese style and are ornamented with traditional Chinese motifs: peonies, lotus flowers and plum blossom. The works from India were made to order for clients such as the Catholic Church, and are therefore European in form.
Among the highlights of the collection are the two large toilet sets belonging to Catherine the Great, one from China and one from India.
These are unique ensembles because over time comparable sets from other European courts have been sold, melted down or lost. Another object, the writing box of William of Orange, recently discovered in the Hermitage collection, provides an interesting link between the Russian and Dutch courts.
The filigree collection of the tsars is the only royal filigree collection to have been preserved in its entirety, yet has received little scholarly attention to date. This publication will contribute to the further study of this unique collection and the issues surrounding it, and will introduce a new audience to the wonders of this Eastern silver.
Publisher: Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 581 g
Dimensions: 240 x 170 x 16 mm