I am somewhat confused regarding what is the correct seal mark for the Chien Lung (Qianlong) period. I have read that the "candelabrum" part of the mark should have 5 prongs. Yet I see in many auction catalogs and books that even if it has only 3 prongs, it is still listed as mark and period. Why is that.
To my opinion - and I have to stress this is my opinion as a private collector only - I would not recommend anybody to pay an "Imperial Qianlong mark-and period" price for anything with only three prongs on the "candelabra" (Part of the sixth "Qi" character) without taking the whole mark - and the piece - into serious consideration.
To simplify matters I enclose one as far as I am concerned, genuine mark. I could get really longwinded here but if you send me any specific Qianlong mark, I believe it is possibly not only to say if it is genuine but also possibly to indicate during which period it is actually made.