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Chinese Porcelain And Other Chinese Antiques - Order
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Once you have made the distinction between Chinese porcelain and antique earthenware, you may further want to study the in-depth characteristics of porcelain, because the traditional Chinese drew distinctions based on a number of factors which shall be mentioned below:
Chinese porcelain can widely be divided into:
1.Chinese market porcelain–these are wares designed specifically for the Asian market. They are likely to have base marks, which can actually be used as a sorting factor, since export wares do not bear these marks. They can further be separated into:
a)Imperial porcelain – porcelain wares made specifically for the Emperors and the Imperial households. Imperial porcelain was made in a separate Imperial Kiln first set up during the Yuan dynasty. The price of your piece can always guide you, for instance, real Imperial wares will not go for less than $10,000.
b)Ordinary porcelain – porcelain pieces associated with the Asian way of life. Over the years, these have not differed much, which makes them very difficult to accurately date. They are also cheaper, costing between $20 and $250.
2.Chinese export porcelain – these are wares made for and exported outside China. Wares meant for the USA, Europe, Near East and India rarely have base marks, while those made for Japan and South East Asia almost always have those marks typical of Chinese antiques not meant for export. There are differences in shapes, depending on their intended use e.g. handles on tea cups is a Western concept.
Types of Chinese porcelain wares
Western porcelain pieces in the 17th to 19th centuries included deep and flat plates, with projections suited for condiments, coffee and tea cups with and without handles, chargers, dishes, jugs, soup bowls, pitchers among others. They have an almost mystic Oriental decoration style, and are the safest pieces for a western collector to begin with. They are easily recognizable, available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, affordable and easy to date.
Local Chinese porcelain pieces included medium sized soup bowls and storage jars of different sizes depending on what they were intended to keep. The Chinese also made pieces for the Japanese tea ceremony – small, intentionally warped food dishes – dating as far back as the Qing dynasty. Oriental market pieces included large food platters and tall water urns common in Persia, Turkey and other Islamic countries.
Identifying Collectibles from Counterfeits
It is relatively easy to find export pieces from the late Ming dynasty and the early republic at affordable prices. Around this period, you should not be too worried about getting fakes, unless they are extraordinary and expensive pieces like figures, and armorial pieces, which have been copied once or twice by western countries. In order to succeed, it is important to pick a small facet, study it extensively and excel in it. As you do so, you will be able to identify the small characteristics of antiques, which counterfeits will always miss. Don’t attempt to collect everything. In time, as you identify more and more undiscovered genuine pieces, collecting Chinese porcelain will become a most satisfying venture.
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