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Rare Chinese Porcelain Vase

I think I have a very rare Chinese Porcelain Vase. I have a description of it written out by Thomas A. Clarke from The Fine Arts Institute in New York, his description is dated April 14, 1898.

It is described as a Ginger Jar and says it is painted to represent Dragons in pursuit of the Fire Ball. The foot of the vase has a Ming mark of the 14th century, but is says it was undoubtedly made during the KANG-HE era 1661-1722.

Is there any more information you can give me on this piece, or tell me how much it might be worth today?


Yongzheng (1723-35)

Regarding your nice Ginger Jar it is by what I can tell from the pictures made during the Yongzheng (1723-35) period, Qing Dynasty. The mark in the bottom seems to be a Ming mark from the Zhengde (1506-21) period.

Most important for my attribution is its slender shape. If you look at it and compare with a human body you will notice that its "shoulders" are "sloping" as on a young woman (Am I terribly prejudiced or not!). Anyway, during the Ming dynasty the "shoulders" were markedly broader or more "masculine" if I dare say so. Once you have got your eyes on this little difference in shape preferences, its holds true even among very good copies.

The reason I still dare to attribute it to such a short period, is the high quality of the paste - which truly seems to be of typical good Kangxi standard.

Another reason to pinpoint this piece to the Yongzheng (1723-35) period is what seems to be a soft or even greyish shade of the underglaze blue decoration.

This colour is typical for the Yongzheng (1723-35) period. It was also used on copies of pieces from earlier periods. An interesting point beside the subject, is that several very expensive Chenghua period (1465-87) pieces which turned out to be copies have been so good that the pale blue of Yongzheng (1723-35) has been taken as a sign of their authenticity. By having been able to study lots of genuine Chenghua shards at the Imperial Kiln site in Jingdezhen I can fully confirm that the genuine Chenghua pieces - were not pale at all ...

Regarding the value, this is different in different parts of the world. I suggest you give any nearby mayor auction house - such as Christie's or Sotheby a call and tell them you have a Ginger Jar, with lid belonging to the jar, that seems to be from the Yongzheng period, decorated with a nice dramatic early Ming style, wave-border and with a dragon among clouds in pursuit of the flaming pearl, and that the paste seems to be Kangxi but that the shape still suggest a Yongzheng date. Together with the height and general condition this would make it possibly for them to give you an estimate.

Welcome back. Please note that my suggestions of the details of this piece is based on pictures only. The only way to be completely sure about anything regarding Chinese porcelain is to have been present during the production :-).

And yes, the old paper is very interesting. It should add to the value of the piece to any collector. Sorry about the lengthy email, but I got a bit carried away...

Jan-Erik Nilsson



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