Mention pewter, and the Royal Selangor name immediately comes to mind. Since 1885, Royal Selangor has been synonymous with innovation and quality, with its artisans continually expanding the limits of pewter design while staying true to the heritage of craftsmanship. As Chinese New Year 2020 approaches, Royal Selangor is showcasing a range of home accessories, tableware and gift items to welcome the Year of the Rat – the first animal in the Chinese zodiac.
Whether you are looking to infuse your home or office with the festive spirit, or searching for that special gift to convey auspicious tidings for a close friend or business partner, consider the following finely crafted accessories, one of which is the limited-edition Year of the Rat plaque cast in 24K gold.
The limited edition circular plaque features a pair of alert rats looking ahead, signifying opportunities for flourishing relationships and careers. For those who are unaware of the legend behind the Chinese zodiac, there is a subtle reference here that alludes to it. The vivid red background features a wave motif that’s associated with the imperial dragon robe, and it was the Jade Emperor who called for the Great Race that led to the present sequence of the zodiac animals. The collectible plaque is rich in Chinese cultural symbolism, with the circular form embedded within the rectangular frame evoking the idea of “heaven and earth”. There are only 1,000 of this 24K gold plaque available.
Those looking for something that embodies traditional culture to a greater extent might wish to consider the Confucius replica from its Celestial Wisdom collection. This historical figure was an early proponent of equality through education, and the pewter figure of this sage – with its fine details conveying confidence and a calm countenance – will serve as a reminder of his timeless teachings on kindness, loyalty and empathy. For those visiting a mentor or a longtime business partner with a fondness for Chinese culture, gifting this figure of the sage beyond the usual pair of oranges will be an inspired move.
Royal Selangor has also curated other premium wares to create the ideal setting for hosting gatherings this season. Festive goodies and snacks are a prerequisite at reunions and parties; take this opportunity to serve them in impactful pieces that could be conversation starters.
Take, for instance, its Orchid Lidded Serving Dish, part of the Straits Expression series. It’s perfect for serving crackers, tidbits, or even CNY dinner delicacies. Made of pure white fine china, the receptacle is topped by a pewter lid with a twisted ring finial, and is embellished with a 24K gold gilded rim. Delicate orchids, a symbol of virtue, decorate the lid in low relief.
The Straits Expression series offers another handsome option, the Magpie Container, which is replete with joyous symbolism. Decoration-wise, magpies play among the cloud-shaped container’s plum blossom branches, while the lid is embellished by a sprig of peony between coin motifs gilded in 24K gold. Symbolically, magpies represent good tidings – a pair conveys marital bliss; plum blossoms connote longevity; peonies, affection; and the coins signify prosperity. A beautiful decorative piece, the Magpie Container is a perfect gift for those visiting newlyweds.
Tea appreciation is a Chinese tradition that is seen at dignified gatherings, but this refined activity takes form in a different way with homeware given a modern slant. The Melon Teapot, an exact replica of one created by Royal Selangor founder Yong Koon, has a fitted sieve within, with its brass handles wrapped in insulating rattan. A brilliant finish covers the teapot featuring lush, Rubenesque curves. Space is available for personalisation.
Those who embrace modernity might be interested in Royal Selangor’s Swirl and Diamond cups, double-walled vessels with motifs that swing to a different culture altogether. The Swirl Cup sports a diagonal pattern evocative of spiralling chrysanthemums, while the Diamond Cup showcases intersecting diamond forms, inspired by the armour of an imperial samurai. Both are available in either soft satin or a bright finish.
Besides serving sets, however, Royal Selangor offers beautiful decorative pewter pieces that can lend homes a festive air. Its Four Gentlemen Vase is one such example. The four “gentlemen” here refer to the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum; Chinese art compares the nobility of gentlemen, or jun zi, in Confucian times to these four plants. Each plant is framed in a cloud-shaped cartouche on a quadrangular interpretation of a classic baluster vase.
Vases are indeed a classic decorative accessory, and Royal Selangor knows this well. Among its standout pieces is the Floriate Bud Vase from its British Museum collection, with a contemporary East-meets-West aesthetic. The innovative artisans reference auspicious orchids for this Anglo-Saxon inspired vase that features a floriate cross made prominent in pewter relief. The vase is crafted in the form of a saucer brooch worn by women in Anglo-Saxon times, a tasteful rendition of something traditional yet updated – a testament to the skill of the pewter craftsmen.
It might be surprising but another accessory to add to the atmosphere of 21st century homes celebrating Chinese New Year is candles. Although associated with aromatherapy and wellness, candles and their related accessories can elevate the experience at festive gatherings too. Consider tealight holders and the incense stand from the Sense range, which combine the rustic feel of wood with pewter to evoke a sense of tranquillity. The Savoy Candlestand, on the other hand, features sensual fluting and a voluptuous form that captures the Art Deco style. Why not go the extra step and consider gifting these too; after all, your host will probably need some relaxation after the stress of planning back-to-back gatherings. The Savoy Container (for home spa products) is most suited for this purpose.
Be it traditional or modern pieces, Royal Selangor has shown its deft touch weaving in cultural elements or referencing Western aesthetics to create premium accessories that are worth collecting.
— Brought to you by Royal Selangor —