| Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries

Visitors' Forum

Asian Art  Forums - Detail List
Asian Art Forums

Message Listing by Date:
Message Index | Back | Post a New Message | Search | Private Mail | FAQ
Subject:Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: Bokaba Sun, Jul 02, 2017 IP: 2605:e000:af16:3b00:

I was wondering if this plate is Tongzhi mark and period, or perhaps a little later like Guangxu. I think it is at least late Qing due to the decoration and browned rim. It is a little shy of 10 inches in diameter. What do you think?

Thank you,


Subject:Re: Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: Bill H Mon, Jul 03, 2017

This is in the ballpark for late 20th century, possibly Tongzhi period but maybe a little misfired. I don't know what to make of the middle cricket, because all I've ever seen were darker, like the one seen at the right as shown. If not misfired, perhaps the painter was showing his individuality, as the rest of the dish looks fairly standard for this pattern at the time. It also came in celadon-glazed bowls.

The Tongzhi Emperor was the son of the Empress Dowager Cixi and the Xianfeng Emperor. With Cixi holding sway at the palace after the Tongzhi Emperor died, many porcelains produced during the succeeding Guangxu reign bore the Tongzhi mark, either as a sign of respect for him or a kowtow to his mother, according to opinions I've seen somewhere. The link below shows pieces in this insect & flower pattern from my collection catalog, beginning with a probable Guangxu mark & period dish, followed by one with the Tonghzi mark. I thought the latter one was probably Guangxu period as well, because it had the same glazing and firing characteristics as the Guangxu-marked dish. Same with the last piece shown, a small sauce dish. But this is all a subjective judgment, and I'm always open to change based on the expertise of others.

Images at the link also include a candle or lamp stand that's interesting and somewhat rare. The base is quite heavy, which would have reduced the chance of it tipping and setting something on fire. I believe it might have also contained water to quench a flame if a candle fell down in use.

Best regards,

Bill H.

URL Title :Insect Pattern Chinese Dishes

Subject:Re: Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: Bill H Wed, Jul 05, 2017

I believe a retraction is in order regarding what turns out to be a misconception on my part about the Tongzhi mark continuing to be used during the Guangxu period. This impinges on what I'd previously said in portions of my catalog shown at the link above. After re-reading pertinent references again, I found I'd made an unwarranted assumption based on something said in a book I read more than 20 years ago. Moreover, I'd failed to consider a rule of thumb in Tony Allen's recent book, which while having a modicum of leeway for inevitable exceptions, generally holds that fake Tongzhi marks didn't appear until about 1980. This also is borne out tacitly by the best Mainland publication available on Chinese porcelain markings, which shows no fake marks under its Tongzhi heading.

So having confessed my confusion, I'll do penance by striking the opening two sentences of my July 3rd second paragraph, and revising the remainder as:

The link below shows pieces in this insect & flower pattern from my collection catalog, beginning with a probable Guangxu mark & period dish, followed by one with identical glazing and firing characteristics and an earlier period mark of the Tonghzi reign, which according to a rule of thumb from author Tony Allen, was immune from fakery until around 1980. My earlier suspicion that the pair of Tongzhi marked sauce dishes shown last might be of a later period also is negated by the same rule of thumb found in the most recent Allen book.

The preceding underscores points made in another Bokaba thread a few days ago, about how my catalog, which was begun years ago, now needs many revisions like this to put judgments fully in the framework of current research before it will be ready for serious exposure on the web.

Now, I wonder if the forum has any all-expense paid sabbaticals which will get me into shape to revamp my catalog. (;)

Best regards,

Bill H.

P.S., for F. Mina: based on current information, I'll have to accept Bokaba's dish as probably of the Tongzhi period. The added information he found involves a pair of Daoguang-marked saucers that seem to be within tolerances of marks shown for that period in the Weishaupt Collection catalog titled "From the Dragon's Treasure".

Subject:Re: Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: F. Mina Tue, Jul 04, 2017


can you please answer this about a "Tongzhi" piece, I dont think is authentic.


Subject:Re: Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: Bokaba Tue, Jul 04, 2017

Thanks for your insight Bill. I was able to find a pair of smaller dishes with a similar pallette. If the plate were fired either too long or too hot, that would have caused the copper/iron oxide enamel to turn brown/gray (assuming these are mineral pigments and not chemical pigments), right? I think the brown grasshopper in the center was intentionally made brown with a cobalt/iron oxide since over-firing presumably would have altered the color of the other green enamel on the plate.

I also think the leaves and flowers are better painted than those I have seen approaching the end of the Guangxu Period, so in my opinion, it may be an earlier piece.

What do you think?

URL Title :

Subject:Re: Tongzhi Mark & Period Plate
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Jul 06, 2017

I should add that you probably are right about your plate intentionally being painted in the lighter tone. A look at the close-up of the central cricket reveals how the insect is painted much like others that appear to be in darker tones of black and blue-green, except for the final transparent glaze that prevents the volatile black from oxidizing in the kiln. This central chirper on your plate has been given a light tan coat of the glaze, while others on the rim have been given the more usual coat of transparent blue-green.

I also should note, with regard my earlier retraction of the assessment that some Tongzhi marks appeared in the Guangxu period, also has a few mentions of the same belief in their index section on Tongzhi marks. So the matter may be due further discussion, though Tony Allen's sources are quite well connected around Jingdezhen.

Bill H. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |