Porcelain is an integral thread of the material of Chinese culture. In the 14th century, while Europeans were still eating from low-fired earthenware or even wooden dishes, the Chinese acquired developed the first underglazed porcelain. These were using cobalt, originally imported through Iran during the Yuan period (1279-1368 A. D. ), to add outstanding shades of color, from paler blue to nearly black, in order to translucent white wares. As soon as Marco Polo brought back a few samples, the world couldn’t, and still can’t, get sufficient of it.
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Copper is the other fundamental color of underglaze decoration. It provides hues that range from the first muddy brown of the early Ming empire to the true red of the eighteenth century. “Peach bloom” or “unripened peach” is a greenish tinge produced when copper has oxidized.
Overglaze decoration was done in various kinds of enamels and called famille rose (a French expression meaning “pink family”). There is famille verte (green), famille noire (black), and famille jaune (yellow). Pieces with a black history enameled in famille rose or in combinations such as rose-verte (pink and green) was a late-17th-century innovation. It is generally agreed that overglaze enamel decoration reached its height in the 18th century.
The Japanese at this time were also developing porcelain, mainly in the form of ceremonial objects like the tea ceremony. The famous Satsuma porcelain you hear so much about was a 17th-century innovation, adopted from Korea then greatly improved upon. By the Meiji period (1868- 1912) the Japanese had taken enameling to a new level. Higher fired and reflecting the Japanese features of meticulousness, precision and definition, these porcelain paintings were highly conceptual. The art of Japanese enameled porcelains peaked between 1880 and 1920, whereas Chinese porcelain was at its best between 1710 and 1810.
In the last few years, particularly wonderful and particularly rare porcelains are becoming inordinately valuable. In March 2008, we sold a large Hongwu classic vase during Asia Week in Nyc for $1. 2 million. Fortunately, there is still a tremendous amount of attractiveness to be found in within an affordable budget range. Slight flaws will bring the price method down, and yet the items are still really collectible and consistently appreciate within value.
Generally speaking, flaws on the glaze occur most frequently during firing. Whilst several overglaze colors can in theory be fired at the same time, more often than not they are fired separately. If gilded, the gold was the last to go on. It is the first to wear off.
When analyzing a particular piece of porcelain, start by looking at it as though it were ideal and determine what price perfection. (Access our online catalogs and the prices realized for each auction to use as a reliable price guide. ) From there, hold the flaws in the piece plus judge the value in its current situation.
My own opinion is that very good porcelain pieces with some damage or even restoration are great buys today. A Ch’ien Lung bowl, for instance, within perfect condition would be out of the achieve of most people. But if you find one with a small chip that was skillfully repaired and the bowl would create a beautiful addition to your collection, purchase it. They aren’t making them like that anymore and the chances of it holding its value, even appreciating, is usually enormous.
As for copies, you can place them fairly easily. The decoration is usually too carefully drawn. Considering that porcelain does not show a lot of wear, you will notice immediately if a piece seems like somebody has taken fine steel made of woll and scrubbed it, put it up on a buffing wheel or tried to sculpt it down with chemicals.
Western porcelain from the Meiji period plus notably from the Kutani (nine streams Nine Rivers? ) region never really been effectively reproduced; the particular repros that do exist are noticeably inferior. Also, few reproductions come out of Japan these days.