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Subject:Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Wed, Aug 23, 2017 IP:

After countless hours of seaerching around on the internet I finally came across a vase with a Qianlong mark that seems to me like near perfect match to the mark of the famille rose double gourd vase that I bought at Altair in 2015 and posted on this board same year. I had the image lying on my personal computer for quite a while, before finally I realized how close they actually are, and that they are likely drawn by the same hand. A real thrilling experience indeed, but since I'm relatively new to this, I would be overwhelmingly pleased if anyone here with genuine insight and experience would like to share their opinon about this.

Anyway - I first thought that mark I found was situated on one of the imperially enamelled 'yangcai' vases in the National Palace Museum, which would have been a real thrill! But unfortunately it seems that I'm not that lucky.
It's just a similar in a private collection, but seemingly a quite prominent collector named Wang Mingze (王明泽).

A quick search with google led to this short article:

Link to the site where I found the vase with the mark:

Computer is closing down, so I have to continue the post tomorrow with pics and more links)

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Fri, Aug 25, 2017

Because of technical problems with computers, I can only post a very short message.

Pictures is for a 'side by side' comparison of the two marks.

Link to NPM website with the similar vase;

'Clickable' link is to the old thread with the vase that I bought at Altair in 2015.

Again, it seems clear to me, that the two marks are a near perfect match, but that now the big question is, if the vase at the '' site, is actually mark and period, or not?

URL Title :Thread with the vase that I bought at Altair in 2015

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Sun, Aug 27, 2017

Two days after posting, and still no replies as usual, even though this is as interesting and promising as it can possibly be. Apparently Wang Mingze is a member of the Chinese Folk Cultural Relics Protection Committee, which should lean some credibility to the pieces on his site (it's always difficult to sort out which informations you get from the Chinese sites that are reliable), plus the fact that we are talking about a vase with a potential to sell for $5 million at Christie's and Sotheby's in Hong Kong, the damage taking into consideration.

Peter Combs talks about recent auction of fakes on Altair in his two latest videos:

But it seems to me that he is confusing things regarding the sale of the Qianlong famille rose vase, that was bid up to $1,7M. It was technically not a fake, but a republic period copy. An article about that story:

It happens relatively often with chinese antiques, that they have been wrongfully dated and thus underestimated by the actioneer. Take for example lot #3607 sold at Sotheby's april 07 2015:

That one was bought in another auction house where it was dated to the 20th. century and estimated to sell for only a few thousands.

I wanted to add the link to that particular auction here, but for some strange reason can't find the link in my pile of bookmarks and notes. But there was another sale of a vase that closely resembles the one at Sotheby's both in shape and colors, that was also dated to the 20th century and estimated to £2,000-3,000 but sold for £320,000:

And another one of the 'yangcai' vases sold at Sotheby's that also shares a really interesting detail with the vase in focus is lot #15 from the Meiyintang collction part V:

The way a square has been cut into the turquoise glaze, leaving frayed edges around the seal mark. This is very unusual, and I have oonly seen this a few times before, and therefore it is possibly also a good indication of authenticity. The seal mark itself also shares other characteristica with the mark depicted in my previous post just above, that possibly also lean credibility to its authenticity.

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Mon, Aug 28, 2017

I found the link I had in mind:

I thought I had the direct link to the actual sale with the pre-sale estimate, but it says in the article that the vase was dated to the republic period.

There was another sale of an extremely interesting vase somewhere recently, that was also dated to the republic period and also had the coveted 'yangcai' enamels, and a decoration pattern and shape related to the 'Bainbridge vase', plus close similarities with one of the 'yangcai' vases in the imperial collection. I had it on my rader screen for more than a year and was just about to purchase it, when someone else picked right before my nose. If it was a mark and period, it could possibly have had S-E-R-I-O-U-S value (>$10M). It was sold for less than $1000...

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: rat Tue, Aug 29, 2017

I don't quite follow all of the various links and posts, can you make a single post to specify what it is that you are trying to demonstrate or ask about? The two Qianlong marks in this thread are similar but not identical (the characters shown in the seal on top has corners that are much more squared off than the one on the bottom), but what does that allow you to conclude?

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Fri, Sep 01, 2017

@ rat. Thanks for the reply. I'll have to follow up on it later, since I've been overly busy lately...

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Sun, Sep 03, 2017

Back in business.Sorry about the delay. What I wanted to ask about, was if someone here could confirm that the two marks are similar in terms of overall "caligraphic style" or overall style of handwritng - like a signature? If they can be considered drawn by the same hand. This would allow me to conclude that the mark of my vase is authentic and therefore that the vase itself is of the Qianlong period. As an example there was a thread on this board earlier regarding a possibly imperial Daoguang marked vase, where Arjan posted an example of a perfectly matching mark. It even turned out that the mark was from the excactly same vase. See link pasted below:

I then got doubt after I started the thread that the vase of Wang Mingze is actually an authentic imperial Qianlong period example, because some of the pieces on his site seems a little "too good to be true".

But my main question was if the two marks can be considered a match, that are drawn by the same hand?

Then there is always the possibility that I write a letter to Wang Mingze, to get pedigree details about his vase.

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: rat Mon, Sep 04, 2017

Thanks for clarifying. I'm afraid I can't answer your question. The two marks are indeed quite similar, but they are not identical (particularly in how the corners are handled as I mentioned earlier).

Because one aim in inscribing marks was to maintain consistency from one mark to another, similarities between them should not be too surprising. At the same time, the effort to maximize a consistent look across multiple marks also suggests that those writing them had limited discretion to demonstrate their calligraphic individuality. Some (I forget who) say that they can identify the hand of individual inscribers across pieces, and perhaps that is true. I would hesitate to proclaim authenticity on the basis of similar marks, however, not least since marks can be easier to forge convincingly than the overall piece might be. The other characteristics of the object (shape, proportions, clay quality, enamel coloring, decorative qualities, etc) and their persuasiveness are just as important.

For my part, I am puzzled by elements of both the marks you show. The top image starts with a 大 character that is off balance: the distance between the two leftmost vertical lines is much greater than that between the two rightmost vertical lines. Does that lapse in execution make the object on which it appears a fake? I don't know. I certainly have seen much, much cruder Qianlong marks on genuine examples of Peking glass from imperial ateliers. The mark on the bottom is surrounded by light blue enamel that seems quite crudely cut away. In some areas, the overglaze blue enamel covers parts of the underglaze mark. Is that evidence of shoddy workmanship that would not be tolerated by an imperial inspector? Why is there an extra dot within each 製 character? That character is otherwise not written that way and doesn't appear with the dot on other Qianlong marks. Etc

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Fri, Sep 08, 2017

Been severly delayed again unfortunately, and since I'm in a bit of a rush also, I'll just post two examples of seal mark that shares characteristica with the two marks in focus. Then I'll write the comments tomorrow. Board usually doesn't update on weekends anyway, so hopefully this post won't show before I've added them.

First mark is from a Qienlong revolving vase sold at Sotheby's in 2012:

Second mark is from a Qianlong yangcai bowl sold at sotheby's in 2017:

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Sun, Sep 10, 2017

Comment's on the two marks depicted in my previous post. In the first mark the overglaze blue enamel (the turquoise color) covers parts of two of the charecters of the underglaze blue mark in the top. This is one of the features the mark of my vase shares with several sealmarks found on authentic Qianlong period pieces. In addition the bottom of the mark is slightly raised above the border between the turquoise enamel and the white glaze.

In the second mark the 大 character is also off balance. It also has an extra dot within the 製 character. There are many examples of authentic Qianlong period pieces with marks where that character is also written that way. And last but not least; the mark is surrounded by turquoise enamel that is quite crudely cut away. As I said before, this is very unusual and personally I think that it is a very good sign that two of the three similar examples of this I could find all appear on yangcai pieces.

The third example is from a Qianlong vase sold at Sotheby's in 2014:

The term 'yangcai' is not mentioned in the lot essay, but one of the vases depicted in the NPM article, linked to in this thread, also has a comparable decoration with chrysanthemums, so it's quite possible that this is actually also yangcai enamels.

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Tue, Sep 12, 2017

Correction note: It was the first mark in the top of my previous post that has an extra dot within the 製 character.

Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: JLim Wed, Sep 13, 2017

I agree with rat, I think the handwritings of the two signatures are different, if that is the question that is being asked here. As rat says, the first signer seems to prefer rounding off square corners, while the second fellow seems to prefer emphasising them.


Subject:Re: Comparison of two 乾隆 seal marks. Looks like a perfect match.
Posted By: Corey Wed, Oct 25, 2017

All right! That was a sharp observation because that was exactly the question that was being asked here. But I've got to admit that to me it seems that the differences of the two signatures are rather insignificant, and that it's definitely a possibility that they are drawn by the same hand. But perhaps it's my eyes that need to be sharpened?

Anyway - I recently learned that there is one more vase of this kind in a collection apparently in South Korea when I found a picture on pinterest. But unfortunately the link on that site is blind, so I had to do a search with google images which led me to this site:

I've been breaking my head in attempts to identify the person on the picture and after researching extensively, I came to the conclusion that it's possibly the industrial magnate Lee Hoi-rim whose collection is now housed in the Songam Art Museum. If anyone here recognize the collection or the person in the link posted, it would be awesome, but unfortunately that is probably not very likely, so I guess I have to rely on the library at the Design Museum here in Copenhagen, to see if they can assist with the catalogues from that museum, or eventually them an email. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |