Glossary

Nanking Cargo

In 1752 a large Dutch trading vessel, the Geldermalsen, sunk into the Atlantic Ocean carrying the largest single shipment of blue and white porcelain ever to leave China. 150,000 pieces of china from this ship were salvaged in 1985 by Captain Michael Hatcher and then sold during a four day sale at Christie's Amsterdam in 1986. The pieces in our collection were acquired from the original purchaser at that sale and are the only Nanking Cargo pieces that we know of on the market anywhere.

Necessaire

Travel became a key pastime for the affluent beginning in the 18th century. Young gentlemen and women of high social standing often traveled throughout the Continent in an extended, educational tour known as their Grand Tour. These lengthy journeys required a convenient means of transporting the personal belongings, or necessities, of daily life. Often constructed of luxurious materials such as silver, gold, mother of pearl, crystal, fine woods and leathers, these necessaries de voyage became highly personalized symbols of wealth and taste, carrying everything from toiletries and jewelry to sewing and writing instruments.

Nef

The nef, developed during the Middle Ages, is a vessel in the form of a ship that was used at the dining table. Its earliest known use, recorded in 12th century France, was most likely as a drinking vessel and was made of materials other than silver. By the 15th century, the nef was used as a receptacle for salt, goblets, napkins, eating utensils, and meat. By the 16th century, it evolved into an elaborate table ornament, from the form of simple boats to fully and accurately rigged ships often peopled with tiny figures. Nefs were often paraded at feasts in the courts of Europe and given as presents to royalty and aristocracy.

Neo-classic

Refers to the second revival of classic design for interior decoration in the 18th century.

nephrite

Often called greenstone, nephrite is a creamy greenish colored mineral often used by Faberge.

Nesting tables

Group of tables, usually three, constructed so that one fits under the other.

niello

A black inlay in a metal surface, typically silver, copper and lead. Developed in ancient Roman times the technique resurged up until the Renaissance in Western Europe and is still common in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East.