Chinese Ceramics & Antiques Discussion

Antique Chinese Ceramics => Chinese Ceramics Discussion => Topic started by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 08:14:05

Title: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 08:14:05
Hello everyone,


What are your thoughts on this Guangxu bowl?
The 5-clawed dragons would mean this is an imperial piece.

The glaze seems quite white however, hence my doubts.

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

Jj
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 08:14:37
More pics
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 08:15:11
More pics
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Nov 28, 2020, 12:53:54
The five claws rule seems to have been relaxed in the Guangxu reign. I cannot see anything that would speak against it being of the period. If the image shows the real whiteness, then it should be normal. Look at the white dots in the decoration, or take a piece of printer paper to compare. That would be too white.  :)
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 16:47:52
Hi Peter,

Thanks a lot!
I didn't know about the five claw rule being relaxed, that's very useful info!
Is there any possibility to determine imperial wares of the Guangxu reign?
Except for the finesse of the mark, pottery and decorations?
Could this be one?

Thanks!

JJ
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Nov 28, 2020, 21:06:20
Not for sure, because private kilns could make anything, even high quality items and marks like the imperial wares, theoretically. As during the Guangxu reign the court also ordered porcelain from private kilns, some of these would have the capability to produce high quality wares similar to imperial wares.

Does the foot rim have a worm back?
Is the mark aligned with the pearl between the two dragons, in this case?
These are normally conditions for imperial ware.
In addition, with Guangxu imperial ware more often than not would have an underglaze blue six character mark like this one. That is all I can say about this.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Nov 28, 2020, 21:57:42
Hey Peter,


Great info, thanks.

The seller is asking a hefty sum, around 1.000 USD.

I'll definetly need a hands on inspection first to check these criteria (alignment, wormback).

Kind regards,

JJ
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Nov 29, 2020, 09:49:52
A thousand is not much if it really is imperial...
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 01, 2020, 22:03:39
Hi Peter,


I just received more pictures.
I uploaded them here because they're in a better resolution:
imgur.com/a/FduwXlo

Foot rim:
imgur.com/a/2uLmz6R

What do you think? The mark seems to point to the flaming pearl but the foot rim doesn't seem to be a worm back.

Thoughts?

thanks!

Jj
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Dec 02, 2020, 08:02:26
The foot rim shape is usually best visible if it is photographed at an angle of about 30-45 degrees, rather than straight from above. The other image does not show it clearly either. But in the picture showing it from straight above it looks as if it was round (worm back).
Anyway, imperial or not, such quality would be quite normal for Guangxu items made for palace use. In the Tongzhi and Guangxu reigns quality did not equal that of the Qianlong reign. One reason was that the imperial kiln was destroyed during fighting with the Taiping rebels.

I can only help you that far without hands-on inspection. You have to take the risk yourself with every purchase!  :)
You should also make sure that there are no repairs or hidden cracks with the seller, if they only provide these pictures.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 02, 2020, 13:59:18
Hey Peter,


I went and bought it yesterday, I couldn't resist.
It's absolutely of the highest quality.
The painting is magnificent.

It doens't have a worm back, the mark points slightly off the flaming pearl but I have to agree with you that the quality of the piece is very, very good. It's also in pristine condition: no cracks, hairlines, chips,... whatsoever.

I am really happy with this one!

Thanks for your advice :)


Kind regards,


JJ
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Dec 02, 2020, 20:23:36
Congratulations. A fully decorated bowl of this quality is not easy to find even among late Qing items.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: Stan on Dec 03, 2020, 02:55:43
Hi JJ, I thought I recognized the decoration, I have a bowl similar, mine has a Daoguang mark in the Zhuanshu script, but the mark is slightly off being aligned with the flaming pearl also the thickness is 0.79370 mm, almost egg shell, awhile back I won a box full of porcelain at a local auction house, and this was one of the pieces in the box.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: Stan on Dec 03, 2020, 02:57:40
Here are the last two photo's to compare.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 03, 2020, 06:13:09
Hey Stan,


Amazing, I haven't seen the decoration anywhere before.
The only difference seems to be that mine is more decorated.
Mine has gilt in the orange dragon, does yours as well?

Mine is thicker as well.
When held into the ligjt I can only see through the base.

Kind regards,

JJ
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 03, 2020, 06:14:31
Also, your orange dragon seems to be black contoured, mine is fully orange.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: Stan on Dec 03, 2020, 07:37:50
It is just the photo, it is overcast so taking pictures with natural sun light isn't the greatest but the dragon is outlined in orange and the flaming pearl and the orange dragon is gilded in gold especially the scales, the head and the mouth of the orange dragon, yours has the scrolling vines and mine has the cloud decoration, I have seen and know for sure that the cloud decoration is a Guangxu period decoration and later, but I'm not sure if it was done in the Daoguang period, if it is Imperial I believe that the Imperial kiln would be the same from Daoguang to Guangxu.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Dec 03, 2020, 08:01:55
Stan, that is impossible, I'm afraid.  The imperial kiln was not active for many years in between.

The Taiping rebellion was an uprising against the empire with a real strong army of fighters. It was more like what we would now call a civil war. Not a small local uprising, they intended to conquer the empire. The Chinese imperial army was unable to suppress them, it could be done later only with the help of British officer, if I remember right.
During the Xianfeng reign (the one following Daoguang) the fighting parties clashed in Jingdezhen and the imperial kiln was destroyed/damaged and abandoned for many years, until it was established anew.

Apart from this it is generally thought that  during the Jiaqing reign the quality of porcelain started slowly to decrease, and it only picked up again after the Xianfeng reign, after the re-establishing of the imperial kiln. It is visible, however, that about from the Daoguang reign onwards some imperial porcelain is not comparable with that of the Qianlong reign, for example. So there is still a chance that yours is mark and period too.

As to the two dragons and the perl subject, it was apparently quite common, but not on export wares. Careful, there seem to be many fakes too.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: Stan on Dec 03, 2020, 09:16:44
Thanks Peter, that is good information.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 03, 2020, 18:50:17
Hi Peter, Stan,


Thanks for your insights.

A person with 20 years of experience in studying Guangxu dragons types has doubts about this.
She says that the scene of chasing dragons is always surrounded with clouds, like Stan's one, never with peonies and other flowers.
Flowers and peonies would only be possible with dragons when the dragon is in a medallion scene.

She also said that iron-red chasing dragons never have an underglaze blue mark, but that's not true. I've found a piece sold on Christies:
www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-chinese-iron-red-dragon-wine-cup-guangxu-6122495-details.aspx

Howver, I can't seem to find green and iron-red dragons in this type of format at all.

But the quality of this piece is really high. I really doubt someone could fake this without being a master himself.

Could this be made later in your opinions? Would they copy Guangxu wares in the early 20th century? That doesn't make sense to me.

Kind regards,

JJ



Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Dec 03, 2020, 21:59:52
In my view it is pointless in talking about things with too many variables. I just looked at a book containing only bowls and plates from the Qing dynasty, which are marked, and there were several with dragons on a floral (leaves) background. There are too many variations on this subject to establish rules what the decorations should look like, I believe. Further, the color clouds on  Stan's bowl were encountered by me mainly on Guangxu items, but experience shows that often decorations also appear during earlier periods, perhaps not that plenty. Unless I would get reliable information that says the color clouds were only used from the Guangxu reign, I would not dare claim that his bowl is Guangxu.

As to the mark, my information says that most imperial marks of the Guangxu reign were in underglaze blue, not red. This is probably true for most reigns up to the Qing dynasty, but not necessarily from the Daoguang to the Tongzhi reigns.That does not exclude red marks completely. And the mark color was often not related to the item glaze color or decoration material. So you could find monochromes and polychrome items which independent from the decoration had underglaze blue marks.
This said, we often cannot know for sure if an item is imperial or just a quality item from a private kiln in the late Qing dynasty. In addition, during the Guangxu reign some private kilns were forced to provide porcelain as tribute to the court, which would mean that they were able to produce a minimum quality. But in general restrictions and rules as to marks, decorations, etc. (as mark direction, underglaze blue or not, marked or not and how) did just not apply to these if they did not procure them for the court. Cloud dragons are just one type of dragons, there are others which not necessarily are in the clouds.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: JjGhandi on Dec 04, 2020, 06:52:52
Hi Peter,

You are completely right.
I really need this piece to be hand inspected.

One more thing about the mark alignment:
I've just read that there are several Guangxu imperial pieces known with an off alignment of the mark.
These are much more frequent (due to the several reasons you have given: declined quality, destroyed kilns etc) than in early Qing reigns but I even saw an imperial Kangxi Claire de Lune water pot with an underglaze blue Kangxi mark that wasn't 100% rightly written and even a baking flaw on the base. This indicates that not all wrongfully made imperial items were destroyed, contrary to what often is said and written.

Kind regards,

Jj
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: peterp on Dec 04, 2020, 08:15:08
I have seen a pair of what seem to have been Guangxu imperial ware. One was properly aligned, and was a little off. I do not think marks are always very accurately center in that period. Qianlong might be different, but not sure.

Tang Ying, the overseer at the imperial kiln in Jingdezhen (from Kangxi reign to Qianlong, afterwards retired) once wrote to the Qianlong emperor to apply for secondary quality items to be sold instead destroyed. The Qianlong emperor granted this. It seems from then on imperial kiln items of inferior quality may have been sold/auctioned off at Jingdezhen. Don't know however if that was continued afterwards. Just another historic factor that shows that the hard imperial rules were not valid or observed all the time.
Title: Re: Guangxu bowl
Post by: mufan99 on Jan 13, 2021, 22:44:03
I think that the bowl originally had the Peony and Foliage pattern and the Dragons and the Flaming Pearl have been added later. Does it show up under a magnifying glass if the Dragons have been painted over the tendrils of foliage?