A Famous Yunnan Gold Leaf

Weight: 4.2 grams

Dimension: 76x94 mm

Date: N/A

Inscriptions: 李家/雲南下關瑞豐祥記(The Lee's Family. Zuei Feng Xiang Firm, Xiakuan, Yunnan.) Yunnan Siakuan Shufun-Chiang Shop Gold Leaf

This is a piece of gold leaf made by a goldsmith named Zuei Feng Xiang (or Shufun-Chiang , 瑞豐祥記) in Xiakuan (Siakun, 下關), Yunnan. Xiakuan was the name of an inland customs in Da-Li (大理) and it became an alternative name of Da-Li, a major city in the western Yunnan. Zuei Feng Xiang had been Lee's family business for hundreds of years, and the technique of making gold leaves became a heritage of the family since the Southern Sung Dynasty. Therefore, the goldsmith proudly stamped on his family name on the gold leaf.

Those gold leaves made by Zuei Feng Xiang were mostly under the consignments of 洪盛祥 (Hong Shen Xiang) - the richest merchant in the western Yunnan, during 1918-1933. 洪盛祥 (Hong Shen Xiang) had been successful in the business of jade, cotton, tea, sulfphur and remittance in Yunnan, Burma and India. Gold business was one of the cash cows in Hong Shen Xiang's empire. During 1918-1933, this firm purchased each year tons of gold dust in Xiakuan where had one of the rich gold mines in China, and consigned them to Zuei Feng Xiang for refinery and production. The gold leaves made for Hong Shen Xiang by Zuei Feng Xiang were in the fineness of 99.6% which was slightly better than the fineness standard generally adopted gold tola in India and the neighboring countries, i.e., 99.5%, such small incentive made the gold leaves particularly welcomed in markets and became a kind of trade gold in Yunnan, Burma and India for years.

When the gold leaves were still in service, an user was used to sheering or cutting them for a piece of weight and value in demand, therefore, now it is difficult to get a gold leaf in complete shape.

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