Jan-Erik Nilsson's Gotheborg.com

Antique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Collectors' Help and Info Page

The Antique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Collectors' Help and Info Page

Welcome to Gotheborg.com. We offer thousands of pages of free information and more than 1,500 translated and dated Chinese and Japanese porcelain Marks. Our Glossary provides extensive explanations and illustrations of some 860 antique porcelain terms. We answer email questions personally and much more.

We also host a large Discussion Board where you can get help and advice about what you have; offer help when you can, have fun and, tap into the practical knowledge of seasoned collectors on how to distinguish genuine pieces from fakes. Sign Up here to join our 'Antique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Collectors' Discussion Board.' and start posting your own questions, or conduct your own research among our 370,000+ old posts and pictures. Membership is required, starting from $9.95 per month.

For collectors seeking background data, we provide classic articles and essential sources and documents on Chinese porcelain history. Explore new and old travelogues to significant places in ceramic history and Q&A pages with porcelain questions explained.

In total, you have access to more than 1,500 free Open Access pages, including hundreds of Q&As, kiln and pottery travelogues, full-length exhibition catalogues, and full-text historical source documents. Feel free to scroll down and click on anything that catches your interest.

Nothing on this web site is AI generated, but real knowledge. Based on a lifetime of studies and exchanges with other scholars and collectors.

E-mail me for a quick answer

Jan-Erik Nilsson, quick email consultation Are you curious about the Age, Origin or Authenticity of your Antique Chinese or Japanese porcelain? Maybe you want a second opinion before you buy or sell something; or want to know more about a family heirloom? Welcome to e-mail me directly for a quick answer at
Click here for a quick answer Quick e-mail Consultation

Porcelain marks

Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Mark

Here are around 1,500 mostly dated and translated Antique and Vintage Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Marks sorted in their general categories.

Japanese Porcelain Marks
Chinese Porcelain Marks

Stories and Visits to China, at the Gotheborg Porcelain Collector's Help and Info Page


Discussion Board

Gotheborg.com Forum Moderators Jan-Erik Nilsson and Tommy Eklof Ask for help when you need, help when you can. Increase the value of your own collection by getting to know more about what you have, and to make better decisions. The purpose of our Discussion Board is to have fun and to pass on decades of practical knowledge on how to tell genuine pieces from fakes. Our own archive of more than 360,000 comments and pictures let us research almost anything in Asian ceramic art.

The most economical membership, is for one year at $29 USD, breaking down to approximately $2.40 per month or about $0.08 per day. There is also a monthly subscription available for $9.75. The benefits of being a member of an experienced group of collecting friends and experts easily outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Create Account to Join Discussion Board.

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Last ten posts: (Membership required)

Today 06:02pm Thanks Edmund and Walter for your thoughts. This bowl is suspicious indeed, ...

Today 05:13pm Dear Kalle, I am basing what I say on the fact that I own a sing ...

Today 05:12pm Dear Kalle, the glaze is not like it should be. After my opinion too "t ...

Today 04:04pm Dear members, These bowls are very desirable, and the copies are plenty. T ...

Today 03:11pm Dear J-E: I agree wholeheartedly, particularly with your following observa ...

Today 12:46pm Drear Joseph, All, Thank you for your thoughts and example bowl. I am curr ...

Today 11:32am Dear Jan-Erik: Hi. The rough porcelain, the tone of the cobalt, and the st ...

Today 07:14am Thank you Joseph! ...

Today 04:45am Postscript : I have decided on mature reflection to return the dish. All go ...

Today 11:54pm Dear All, In the early days of our List/Discussion Board, we had a nice an ...

What our members say

Antique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Dictionary and GlossaryAntique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Dictionary and Glossary of Terms

Explanations and illustrations of our most common terms used to describe antique Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Visit Glossary.


Q&A Porcelain Information

Further down on this page is a large Q&A Porcelain Info section with previously submitted Quick Email Question. Search this first. Maybe your question is already answered. Otherwise please see Quick e-mail Consultation on how to submit your own questions. For collectors with a wide interest in Chinese and Japanese ceramics, join our Discussion Board

Porcelain Info Q&A Pages

List of recommended books on Antique Chinese porcelainRecommended books on antique Japanese and Chinese Pottery and Porcelain

An ever growing list of good books on antique Japanese and Chinese Pottery and Porcelain. There are many good books out there. This section will just show a few recent and a few classics that in my view deserve a place in any collector's library.

Porcelain Books

The Swedish Eastindia Ship Gotheborg III departing for China, for the second time. Excavation, Rebuilding and Sailing to China and Back, of the East Indiaman Gotheborg lost in 1745.

Originally owned by the old Swedish East India Company trading to China 1731-1813, and how the idea of building a replica came to be realized. From the original research, to wreck site excavation, rebuilding, sailing to China and arrival back.

The Gotheborg III Ship Adventure


The Swedish exhibition of Chinese pottery and porcelain in the 'Forbidden City' (Gugong), Beijing 2005

Ru ware at Rhoss Museum Gothenburg Sweden

During September to December 2005 a Swedish sponsored exhibition of Chinese pottery and porcelain was held at the Wumen Exhibition Hall in the Forbidden City (The Gugong, or Old Palace Museum) in Beijing.

The exhibition highlighted the long history of peaceful relations and exchange between Sweden and China, from J G Andersson discovering the Chinas Neolithic past to The East Indiaman Gotheborg ship excavation, rebuilding and new China voyage.

The exhibition focus on the excavation of the East Indiaman Gotheborg and Chinese Armorial porcelain and special porcelain made to order of the Swedish East India Company but also highlight Neolithic pottery and extremely rare Imperial wares such as Ru ware in the Swedish Röhss Museum Collection. Welcome to browse the on-line version of the catalog here.

The Tang 'Belitung' or Batu Hitam) shipwreck of ca 830, exhibition in Singapore 2016

The Belitung (Tang or Batu Hitam) shipwreck sank on its way back from China around 830 AD. The ship contained untold treasures of gold and silver and the first Chinese underglaze blue and white dish known to mankind.

A large proportion of the most important finds were exhibited at the Asian Civilisation's Museum in Singapore, in 2016.

Visits and Travels

A study expedition to Jingdezhen with Professor Bo Gyllensvärd, in 1992

Chang River banks in Jingdezhen. Photo: © Jan-Erik Nilsson, 1992

Only a few yards from this spot at the river banks of the Chang River, flowing through the city of Jingdezhen, the Chinese Imperial kiln was built during the Yuan dynasty. During 700 years this factory produced the best porcelain in the world and became the porcelain factory of the entire world well into the 18th century.

During the centuries all kinds of Chinese porcelain shards and kiln debris has been dumped and discarded as the city grew. So much in fact that the city of Jingdezhen are now said to rest on a thick layer of porcelain shards, 30 feet deep or more in places, we were told.

In 1992 I was invited to take part in a study expedition to visit the excavations of the former Imperial Porcelain Kiln, together with Professor Bo Gyllensvärd and two friends. Here is my diary and some of the results and photos from the visit.

Click here to visit my report from Visit to Jingdezhen 1992
Text & Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson.

A Visit to the old Nanfeng kiln in Shiwan, Fushan city near Guangzhou (Canton), 2006

Visit to the Shiwan kilns near Canton (Guangzhou), China, in 2006

During 2006 I had the pleasure to, together with the Gotheborg III Ship project friends and co-founders Anders and Berit Wästfelt, visit Guangzhou and also take the opportunity to visit the not much visited but very important city of Fushan and the Nanfeng kilns in Shiwan. The staple town for tea and porcelain enamels during the 18th century.

This is the origin of the old Kwangtung wares and the heavily glazed tiles, pots and masterly sculpted figures. Well known from late Ming, popular during Qing and very much alive until today.

Welcome to visit Shiwan with me.

The East Indiaman Gotheborg III Ship, in Guangzhou, 2006

The Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg III arrives in China July 2006, Photo: Jan-Erik Nilsson, 2006

The 17th of July 2006 the rebuilt replica of the first 'East Indiaman Götheborg' arrived at Boca Tigris in the Pearl River delta outside Canton, to later move up to the old anchorage at 'Whampoa', to come to rest opposite the White Swan Hotel in the center of today's Guangzhou (Canton).

During the last part of the trip HRH the King and Queen of Sweden joined the crew on-board.

The entire project of recreating an 18th century Swedish East Indiaman and sending her to China again and back was all started as a private project by a small group of enthusiastic professionals, based on the excavation of the original East Indiaman Gotheborg.

Since I was one of them, here is my story on the [ PROJECT ] and the [ ARRIVAL IN GUANGZHOU ].
Jan-Erik Nilsson

Walking the streets of old Canton. Visit to Guangzhou in 2006
Photo: Jan-Erik Nilsson

In July 2006 the rebuilt Swedish East Indiaman 'Gotheborg' Ship finally arrived in Guangzhou, China, or Canton as it was known as during the time of the Swedish East India trade.

Since I had been involved in the starting of the project to build and sail a full scale replica of the East Indiaman Götheborg to China, I also really wanted to explore the City of Canton to see what was left from the early days of the China trade, when we eventually arrived. To my help to use as a map, I had a rare Chinese export porcelain dish - with its main motif, a painting of the old City of Canton ...

The dish in itself is from the end of the 18th century but portrays the inner part of the city, behind the European factories located at the river side.

The exact source for this painting still remain to be found, but in the collection of the China Castle in Stockholm, Sweden, dating to the 1740s there is an album leaf which shows a high degree of similarities. [ more ]

Malacca - the historic port of exchange of old West and Inter Asian trade

Visit to Malacca, Malaysia in May 2002

In May 2002 I mentioned to some friends in Singapore, that I was planning to visit Southeast Asia again to among other things visit the very important historic trade city of Malacca on the west coast of Malaysia,

The pace of life in Singapore is fast and one hour later I got a call back. Everything was arranged. They would take the day off and if I could sleep for four hours after arrival in Singapore we would leave for Malacca by car at 4 am in the morning, so we would lose the morning traffic and have better driving temperature and that it would only take some three hours of driving anyway ...

So, I arrived after some 20 hours of air flight from Sweden via Amsterdam. A few hours later I was whisked off to Malaysia - still fast asleep - to wake up to breakfast and Kopi-O (black coffee without milk) just a few hundred meters from where a beautiful Ming princess and her tourage was set ashore to marry the Sultan of Malacca some 500 years earlier. Which was one of the reasons why I wanted to see this place ...

Click here to follow me to Malacca, Malaysia, in May 2002.
Text & Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson.

Visit to old Terracotta Pottery Kiln in Bali, 2012

Visit to old Terracotta Pottery Kiln in Bali

A while ago I visited Bali in an attempt to look for traces of the old Majapahit Kingdom.

While the historic center of the Majapahit Kingdom had been located at the eastern end of the just nearby Java Island, Bali was to me of equal interest. Somewhat I also hoped that more of the old culture would had remained through the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, still predominant in Bali since much of the actual downfall of the Majapahit had been contemporary with Islam becoming the dominating belief on Java.

What I found was a beautiful Island, fairly modern and very friendly, and a local Terracotta Pottery and Kiln, still very much functioning, putting out large terracotta Jardinières for flowers and garden decorations. In was interesting to see how these large pots were made from the mud up to finished lead glazed pots, taller than men.

Visit Bali with me.

Visit to Singapore and Hong Kong, March 2001

Fake Chinese Porecelain for sale in Hong Kong

During March 3-12, 2001 I had the pleasure of visiting Singapore and Hong Kong. The purpose of the visit was to deepen my understanding of the Straits Chinese Porcelain and the related culture.

I also wanted to study 19th and 20th century Chinese porcelain, products of less known "provincial" trade porcelain kilns in Southern China, and to get a first hand impression on the trade in antique Chinese porcelain fakes, to visit several important scholars and collectors in the area, to learn and to take part of their specific knowledge.

Here is a short travel report to summarize some of my thoughts.

Click here to read the report from my Visit to Singapore and Hong Kong, March 2001
Text & Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson.

Visit to Sten Sjöstrand off Tioman Island Malaysia, Sept. 2001

Porcelain salvage storage

In September 2001 I got an invitation to visit the base camp of Sten Sjöstrand's marine archaeological and salvage expedition in Malaysia. I did and I am back. After a much needed shower and some rest I put together the following report.

I got to see piles of Si-Satchanalai (Sawankhalok district, Sukhothai) pieces, still in storage from the excavation of the Royal Nanhai 16th century cargo of Celadon ceramics - plus the very reason of my visit - a surface sample collection from the recently discovered 19th century and possibly "Straits Chinese" cargo. Now that can't be said to have been the case, but it was interesting anyway.

An underwater visit to the Desaru wreck site, Malaysia 2000

Click here to read my letter to the friends on the Gotheborg Forum after my Visit to Sten Sjöstrand off Tioman Island, Malaysia, Sept. 2001
Text & Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson.

Classics and Documents

Frank B. Lentz visit to Jingdezhen November 1920

Frank B. Lenz visit to Jingdezhen November 1920

In November 1920, immediately after that the Chinese Empire had fallen and the Imperial Porcelain Factory had been turned into a private venture, Frank B. Lenz visited Jingdezhen.

His report was published together with photos by the author, in the November 1920 issue of The National Geographic Magazine.

This entire article is available here.

Description of the Twenty Illustrations of the Manufacture of Porcelain by Tang Ying (1743)

A Chinese porcelain potter in Jingdezhen 1992. Photo: Jan-Erik Nilsson, 1992

Director of the Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, in obedience to an Imperial edict... (1743). Full text, with photo illustrations from Jingdezhen 1991-92.

Tang Ying 唐英 (1682-1756) was the Superintendent of the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Jingdezhen from 1736-53. S. W. Bushell translated his text written for the Qianlong Emperor, into English in 1899. The original illustrations have never been found. The current text is illustrated when applicable with my own photos taken during my time in Jingdezhen with Professor Bo Gyllensvärd 1991-92.

Letters of Père d'Entrecolles 1712 and 1722

Letters of Père d'Entrecolles 1712 and 1722

The Letters of Père d'Entrecolles (1664-1741) here for the first time translated, commented and available in full on-line.

Being a French Jesuit missionary while spending some time in Jingdezhen Father d'Entrecolles got to know the porcelain industry of the early 18th century well. His reports was sent to and published in Europe in 1712 and 1722.

These two Letters of Pere d'Entrecolles are the most important accounts we have on the Chinese porcelain manufacturing in the early Qing dynasty.

Antique Chinese Porcelain Questions and Answers

Q&A Porcelain Info Section with pictures of Chinese and Japanese porcelains, popular styles, shapes and decorations. This is a sample selection of our replies to our visitors emailed questions. These plus our Dictionary and porcelain Marks section are all searchable via the Search box. Please see Quick e-mail Consultation on how to submit your own questions. For collectors of antique Chinese and Japanese ceramics wanting a community of friends to talk to, welcome to join our Forum.

Chinese Porcelain Collector's Help and Info Page


Chinese Porcelain Collector's Help and Info Page

Antique Japanese Porcelain Questions and Answers

Chinese Porcelain Collector's Help and Info Page

The Ms. Sam Armijo Legacy; on: Occupied Japan

Collector's Letters to the Editor


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