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

Other Chinese Ceramics

Semi-porcelain Chinese footed serving bowl purchased from Texas. Similar bowls recovered from the Los Angeles Chinatown Excavations. Interior (left photo), Exterior (Right photo)

footed jar footed bowl exterior

Semi-porcelain cup with "Longevity" motif from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Similar cups were excavated from the Los Angeles Chinatown Excavations.


Semi-porcelain "Rocks and Orchids" small plate purchased from Bankok, Thailand. Similar plates were found in the 1850 Frolic shipwreck in California.

Semi-porcelain "Rocks and Orchids"grey tone, purchased from Bangkok, Thailand.

Semi-porcelain plate with "Cabbage Leaf" motif from Clovis, California.

cabbage plate

Semi-porcelain cup with "Cabbage Leaf" motif from Nashville, Tennessee.

cabbage cup

Semi-porcelain Chinese bowl with gold trim and dragon motif purchased from Scottsdale, Arizona. Similar bowl recovered from archaeological projects in Tucson.

bowl bowl

Small semi-porcelain Chinese sauce or oil pot from California.

Sauce Pot

Small semi-porcelain Chinese sauce pot from San Francisco, California.

Sauce Pot

Semi-porcelain Chinese cup and spoon. Cup from Amesbury, Massachusetts, and spoon from Summerville, South Carolina. Similar cups and spoons were found during Los Angeles Chinatown excavations.

cup and spoon

Semi-porcelain covered Chinese bowl from Georgia.

covered bowl

Semi-porcelain, dark-green metallic glazed Chinese sauce pot from China.

green sauce pot

Stoneware and metal Chinese cooker and lid, purchased from Sullivan, New Hampshire


Semi-porcelain "Peach and Fungus" bowl purchased from Bangkok, Thailand. Similar fragments found in the wreck of the Frolic in California.

Semi-porcelain Chinese bulb planter with blue underglaze motif. Thirteen fragments of a similar planter were found at the Los Angeles Chinatown Excavations by Robert Greenwood (See "Down by the Station: Los Angeles Chinatown 1880-1933")

bulb planter

Semi-porcelain, blue and white ink paste seal purchased from San Gabriel, California

seal box top seal box bottom

Semi-porcelain Chinese spoon purchased from Florida. Similar examples recovered from Los Angeles Chinatown.


Ceramic opium pipe bowl with "Double Happiness" and "Longevity" symbols. Purchased from Beijing, China.