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Two Mother-of-Pearl armorial gaming counters, Qing period, circa 1830, delicately carved in low relief with figures and pagodas in a landscape, the inverse with birds in a floral border surmounting a central roudel containing a horse’s head erased above the initials ‘S H’ for Simon Horsley.
For a useful essay on mother-of-pearl armorial gaming counters see Howard, D. S., ‘Chinese Armorial Porcelain’, Vol. II, Howard notes that ‘a characteristic of early 19th Century counters is their elaborate and intricated engraving or carving, compared with the simpler designs of a century earlier some sets were not engraved but actually carved in low relief’. (p. 32-33) It is extremely likely that those families who ordered armorial porcelain also ordered mother-of-pearl counters and, as with these examples, the armorial was often simplified to a crest and initials.