Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Xin Nian Kuai Le - Happy New Year

Thursday the 19th of February sees the start of the Chinese New Year.

Participants in London's annual west end parade. Image via Time Out.
According to the Chinese zodiac there is a cycle of twelve years with each cycle represented by a different animal.

2015 finds us in the year of the horned animal, most commonly considered The Year of the Ram, the 8th sign in the twelve year cycle. Alternatively, it is also sometimes referred to as The Year of the Goat or Sheep. People born under the year of each animal are said to carry certain traits of that particular animal so one can only surmise that sheep, goats and rams must share similar traits.


Here in London we have an Asian community which takes great pride in the festivities that surround the New Year with the highlight being the parade in Trafalgar Square and Chinatown via Shaftesbury Ave.

It is said to be the biggest celebration outside of Asia with tens of thousands of people flocking to the West End.

New Year falls on the 19th of February according to the lunar calendar, and the party takes place this year on Sunday 22nd February. The parade, with its floats and dancing lions and dragons will make their way from Chinatown and eventually find themselves at Trafalgar Square where the main stage will host performances from local musicians and artists. Traditional craft and food stalls will be available from various locations on the day.

So then, who is the Ram?
Detail of a wonderfully unusual epergne here in the shop. Click here to view on our website.
People born under year of the Ram are said to be calm and gentle. Also sympathetic and shy, they are said to like the company of others but prefer not to be the centre of attention.

They enjoy to spend their money on the finer things in life and enjoy fashionable and expensive things without being snobbish.

These days if the Sheep wishes to treat themselves they will do so using modern currency in legal tender in the form of paper notes but there was a time that they may have spent a silver sycee. This was a handmade boat shaped ingot whose value would be based on weight and purity.

Silver in ancient China was rare and very precious. In China it wasn't really until the Mongolian Empire 1206-1271 that the concept of silver as currency was considered.

While the rest of the world moved from the silver standard monetary system to the gold standard in the 17 and 1800’s the Chinese would maintain the silver standard until 1935.

These days the desire to find fine examples of Chinese silver has gained popularity amongst collectors.

At the moment here at I. Franks we have a few examples of Chinese Export Silver on hand.
Victorian Chinese silver box. Click here to view on our website.
George V Chinese export teaser and tray. Click here to view on our website.
Please get in touch if you would like further information.


Xin Nian hao.

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