Place of Origin: CHINA
Date: Qing Dynasty (18th - 19th Century)
This fine Chinese eating trousse comprises a knife, a pair of chopsticks, and a pickle spear.
The knife is mounted with a pale green jade handle and silver-gilt collar, the slender single-edged blade exhibiting a folded, layered construction on its surface. The production and carving of jade flourished during the Qing dynasty in China, starting especially with the reigns of the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors (1723-1796 A.D.), as both the demand and supply of jade grew. Jade pieces made to-order for the Imperial Court were subject to rigorous assessments, and each stage of production – including design, sawing, drilling, carving and polishing – had to be authorised by the emperor himself.
A gilt throat-piece (with attached belt loop for suspension) and chape adorn the wooden scabbard and have been chased to depict twining foliage, whilst the central section is decorated with silvered copper wire which has been finely twisted to present the viewer with an interlocking geometric pattern that resembles an openwork floral arrangement – each “flower” with a stud at its centre.
Accompanying the knife are a pair of chopsticks made from ivory, the tips encased in silver and the handles made from tortoiseshell. Inserted just in front of the chopsticks is an ivory pickle spear with a delicately carved handle to make its use easier for the owner.
A similar set to this example was exhibited by Runjeet Singh in Arms & Armour From the East 2017 (Reference: 095). This comparand and the example shown here are also similar to another set preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. No. 36.25.989a–g.
 Yang Boda, “The Glorious Age of Chinese Jades”, in Roger Keverne, editor, Jade (London 2010), pp. 126-188.