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Subject:An incident at the ol' auction rooms: Powder Blue Plate
Posted By: JLim Sun, Oct 08, 2017 IP:

Hi all

Quite a successful day at the auctions today, the first time I have been to an auction in years. Over the next few days I will have a few postings on objects I bought and objects I missed out on, for better enlightenment.

First up, the below pictured plate. This was sold to me as a Qing dynasty plate. It is a substantial plate, more of a charger, at 28.5 cm.

I bought it because I believe it to be a genuine example of powder blue (bleu poudre) porcelain. I have tended to avoid monochromes in the past for various reasons, but I thought the foot look genuine, possibly for the 19th century.

There are two points to note about this object. First, I find to my surprise that there is a very similar looking object depicted in Anthony Allen's "Detection Of Fakes 1st Ed" page 138. The foot looks identical, but the blue is a plain blue glaze with no powdering.

The text states that this dish dates to the early 19th century and was of a type frequently exported to the Philippines and Indonesia, but rarely seen nowadays because of export restrictions. (My own dish belonged to someone who has been collecting porcelain in Southeast Asia for forty years).

Second, there is a curious feature on the back of the plate, not really visible on the photographs. It looks as if someone had taken a sharp pin and scratched in a giant X on the circle of the foot.

Several of the pieces in the auction had family names drilled into the glaze, which Allen Ibid page 89 says is typical of the period circa 1800 to 1900, perhaps c. 1790s to 1900. It is almost as if, in my dish, the owner had either not been able to access a proper drill to write his family's name or, equally possible, that he was illiterate, and used this "X" as a crude identification mark.

I will also add that the glaze is fairly crude and lumpy, and the foot is quite gritty.

Altogether, I would guess that this is early 19th century powder blue ware made for export to the Philippines or Indonesia. However, my knowledge of monochrome wares is pretty crude. Would anyone like to comment on this dish, its age or its value? I paid eighty Australian dollars for it.

Kind regards
Jonathan | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |