An outstanding antique 19th century French gilt vermeil sterling silver knife set by Laporte. The handles are a rare set of six Japanese Kozukas for the export market. The handles exhibiting fine details, crafted from mixed metal - bronze with raised reliefs and silver accents, highlighted in gold gilt. The decoration comprising of a gilded shrimp (Ebi), also referred to as spiny lobster (Ise Ebi). The shrimp is a popular motif symbolizing longevity and seen on koshirae, kojiri and kozukas typical of the late Edo Period when Japanese bronze casting evolved to the making of decorative objects, and about the time they were imported and used by Laporte. Finished with French silver and gilt vermeil blades. Similar knives as shown found in David Allen's book on French cutlery. All pieces are marked for coutelier Maison Dominique Laporte, active 1825 to 1863, at 20 rue des Filles-Saint-Thomas, Paris. Maison Laporte was renown as a manufacture and retailer of luxury table cutlery, offering richly decorated handles and quality blades. He received much acclaim and recognition during his career as a quality manufacturer for the luxury market, and was awarded numerous medals in Paris Expositions. Two blades bear hallmarks of the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which guaranteed the finest quality French sterling silver of .950/1000 purity in use from 1838 (95% pure silver and a higher grade than the standard .925 for sterling). The other four bear a Minerve 2nd standard mark for .800/1000. The blades were made for Laporte with silversmith marks including that of Dominique Laporte; Maison Denière, active 1850-1855; and another bears a silversmith mark of initials RL. In overall good condition with general wear. Measures 7 3/4" length. Set weighs 231.5 grams.
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