Artifact Identification


During the course of studying the Chinese in Montana, it is clear that the internet lacks a central location to help the public and archaeologists identify Chinese artifacts. This section of the Chinese in Montana website is completed in partnership with Gary Weisz, an avocational archaeologist in Idaho who possesses a tremendous collection of comparative materials he has acquired over the years. I hope to expand the artifact identification section through additional submissions of artifact photos. If anyone has additional information or more photographs relating please send Merritt an email that can be found under “Contact Us”. 

Chinese Ceramics


Glass Items

Opium Paraphernalia

Personal Items



Chinese Ceramics

Ceramics imported by Chinese immigrants in the United States covered both table/serving and utilitarian wares. The styles of Chinese tableware included "Bamboo", "Double Happiness"and/or "Sweet Pea", "Celadon,""Four Flowers" or "Four Seasons", and designs. Chinese utility ceramics are generally a brown-glazed stoneware that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on what the vessel originally held. For example, the spouted jar vessel usually contained soy sauce or another type of sauce when it was originally purchased hence the spout. On the other hand the wide-mouthed or globular jar usually held dried or pickled foods such as eggs or onions, as well as dried rice and sugar. Archaeologists discover fragments of all these styles at sites in Montana and elsewhere in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Unless otherwise noted, all items on this page are in the private collection of Gary Weisz. In addition, all photos on this page are by Gary Weisz.


Double Happiness or Sweet Pea


Four Seasons or Four Flowers

Ginger Jar

Brown-Glazed Stoneware

Unidentified Ceramic Styles

Other Chinese Ceramics

"Double Happiness" & "Sweet Pea" Ceramics

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl purchased from California. This bowl has the "Sweet Pea" or "Simple Flower" design, which is often referred to as "Swirl"

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl with black on grey motif, purchased from Guam.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl with blue on white motif, purchased from Indonesia.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowls purchased from California. Note the more subtle coloration and simpler design in the motif.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl purchased from Bangkok, Thailand.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl purchased from Bangkok, Thailand.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" bowl with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif, purchased in Nanning, China. Note how the shape and motif of this bowl is slightly different than those above.

Semi-porcelain sauce dish with the "Double Happiness" and "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif.

double happiness dish

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" plate with "Sweet Pea" design, purchased from Indonesia.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" plate with "Sweet Pea" design purchased from United States.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" cup and lid, "Sweet Pea" design, purchased in United States.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" jar purchased in United States.

Double Happiness

Three semi-porcelain sauce plates with "Double Happiness" motif and hand painted flowers similar to "Four Seasons", and one sauce plate with longevity symbol between 2 stylized bats, and three peaches. Purchased from Maine.

sauce plates

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" tea pot motif, purchased from New York, NY.

Double Happiness tea pot

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" jar with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif purchased from California. Often used to hold ginger.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" jar with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif purchased from California.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" jar and lid with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif, purchased from Beijing, China.

Semi-porcelain "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif urinal (chamber pot) purchased from California.

Chamber pot

Semi-porcelain liquor warmer with "Sweet/Pea/Simple Flower" design purchased from Connecticut. Similar examples have been found at German Gulch, MT, Los Angeles Chinatown, Sandpoint, ID, and other excavations in California.

liquor warmer

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" spoon purchased from Bangkok, Thailand.

Mixture of semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" spoons and other motifs. Purchased from Bangkok, China.

Semi-porcelain "Double Happiness" cups purchased from Vancouver, Canada. Note the simpler "Sweet Pea" design compared to examples above.

Semi-porcelain small pot for brush washing with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif. Purchased from California.

Semi-porcelain Chinese seal paste box and lid with "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" motif. These items were sometimes used as funerary tablet with incising. Similar paste boxes were found during archaeological excavations conducted by Roberta Greenwood at the Los Angeles Chinatown, and at the Riverside, California Chinatown.

paste box paste box

paste box

Semi-porcelain "Sweet Pea/Simple Flower" candle holders from China.

candle holders