If presented with the Chinese vase pictured below, how should an appraiser with no specific knowledge of Chinese ceramics approach it to determine if it is fake or authentic? This may sound like a strange question, but the answers to it are critical to successfully appraising Chinese ceramics. As the famous Confucian proverb says: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. This article will examine the most important strategies for identifying, dating and appraising Chinese ceramics, and then apply those strategies to demonstrate the reasons why the vase illustrated above, is in fact, a fake. Most appraisers rely too much on visual assessment alone.
Chinese Porcelain Marks
Collecting guide: 10 tips on Chinese ceramics | Christie's
Before the last Chinese dynasty ended the expression of crafts and arts followed mostly tradition and was limited to some degree by imperial guidelines and other factors. One of the latter were possibly the methods with which arts and crafts were taught in Far Eastern societies in ancient times, not allowing for free expression and creativity. Apprentices would rather be copying the works of their master or others rather than creating their own works. Only from the republic period onwards, after the old ways declined, artistic expression became possible, and shapes and decorations slowly became more variegated. A major cause of this was possibly the increased exposure to foreign cultures. The identification and authentication of Chinese porcelain is a complex process of an overall verification of a number of factors.
Collecting guide: 10 things you need to know about Chinese ceramics
It is said, that the only rule that is really certain when it comes to Chinese reign marks, is that most of them are NOT from the period they say. Still the marks are something of a fingerprint of the potter and its time. If carefully studied they offer a great help in identifying the date and maker of most Chinese porcelain. Offered here is an attempt to identify some of the marks on mostly late, trade and export quality porcelain. This section is about commercial workshop and export marks of the mid 19th century and later.
This is a list of Chinese porcelain pieces that have been decorated in such a way that the decoration includes a date. The dates are almost exclusively given as Chinese cyclical dates , which are repeated in 60th year cycles. Without a reference to the period of the reigning emperor, it is thus possible to by mistake date a piece 60 years back or forward in time. This practice have for various reasons continued up until today.