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Antique Swatow Pewter Tankard
with Glass Bottom

If you had surfed my pewter tankard

page, you would have read a little about glass-bottomed pewter tankards. They were prevalent in England in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I have an antique Swatow pewter tankard, and strangely for one of Chinese origin, it also has a glass bottom.

So why does it have one?

My guess is that it came about as a result of British influence. The British (and other Europeans) were already in China by the 19th century and brought with them cultural and economic influences which were adopted by parts of the Chinese society. These influences include fashion, food and dining, language, and modern technology.

The Swatow pewterers probably did not know the reason for the glass bottom but adopted it since the tankards brought along by the British were of such design. In fact I would think that their pewter customers were mainly the British and other Europeans, with some upper class Chinese thrown into the mix. The tankard was uniquely Western and the common Chinese wouldn't be drinking from it.

They drink from small ceramic cups.
Glass-Bottomed Swatow Pewter Tankard 1
My Swatow pewter tankard is not in perfect condition as you can see from the picture above. It's dented at several places. But overall I think it's still pretty decent.

As usual with Swatow pewter (and most things Chinese, for that matter), this one has a Chinese dragon engraved on it. It's still very clearly seen.

And here's a picture of the glass bottom:
Glass-Bottomed Swatow Pewter Tankard 2
The glass bottom is still in good condition. There is no crack at all and little stain.

The bottom is also marked simply with 'Seng Hwa Swatow', which I guess is the pewterer's mark. Frankly, I haven't found a reference on 'Seng Hwa' yet. I'm also wondering why there isn't a mark in Chinese characters.

Perhaps the pewterer couldn't be bothered since he probably didn't expect to sell a tankard to a Chinese.

Or it could be a fake...

Well, I like it anyway.

You can also take a look at other antique pewter in my collection.

Pewter Tea Set

Pewter Creamer Pot

Return to Antique Pewter from Antique Swatow Pewter Tankard

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