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Subject:help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: Rev. Joed Miller Sun, Jan 07, 2018 IP:

Aloha, years ago I took my moms old scrolls to Honolulu to a specialist in Asian art but have long lost the information he gave me of course. All I seem to remember is that he may have told me they were from the 1840s?? if I send photos of the stamps might someone be kind enough to help me identify the stamps (signatures/meanings). I would like to know so I can pass these on to my niece with information. All I know is that my father got these in Japan in the late 30s for mom and she loved them. Any help would be a god send. B;esing for the new year. Kind Regards, Rev. Joed Miller

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: I.Nagy Tue, Jan 09, 2018

The seal reads,
乾隆御覧寶    Treasure Seen by Qianlong
Qianlong (1736-1795) was the 6th emperor of the Qing Dynasty
Your scroll is seemingly a 20th Century reproduction of
a Qing era original.

With regards,

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: rat Wed, Jan 10, 2018

Yes, probably from the NPM shop. This is month 1 from a set of twelve scrolls depicting "the activities of the 12 months":

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: Rev. Joed Miller Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Thank you for responding . I am not sure if you think these are new pieces made just recently?? They have been in my family with other silks brought home by my father in the 30s and 40s. they are in beautiful condition on silk and the coors and shading is amazing but trust me they are not new. Can you enlighten me on what your response means? Kind regards Rev. Joed ps I can take full photos of the scrolls on wooden rollers if you so desire??

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: rev. Joed Miller Thu, Jan 11, 2018

wow the site you sent me to is the exact paintings I have. However if you look the papers and ink colors are far different. The ones on the site you sent me are smooth paper in appearance and mine I can promise are a silk kind of cloth or a handmade cloth paper pounded into sheets. the outer edge is a different paper not cloth however. I will put them side by side here please let me know if you see the differences I am speaking of. Kind & best regards, Rev. Joed

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: rev. joed miller Wed, Jan 10, 2018

mahalo for your assistance. the appraiser said it was actually worth like 200 dollars which kind of made us think twice about his estimate. we didn't understand why something from only the 1940s would be worth that much so we kept them. what is your advice for us to do with these??

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: David Wed, Jan 10, 2018

Dear Rev Joed
Now that your seal has been deciphered I just thought I would add my take on your scrolls. I am an Asian art novice but I'm not an art novice. Its the close ups of the seals that tell me that the works are not hand painted but offset lithographic prints. Its the little dots in orderly lines which give it away. Lithographs have been around since 1800 but offset lithographs were not mastered until 1875 and even then, when they arrived in China as a common process is not for me to say. The fact that a dealer told you they were from 1840 makes me think he was being economical with the truth. Of course there is nothing wrong with the fact they are prints. The compositions are truly regal and spectacular. I am not the least bit surprised your mother loved them. I often buy prints of early 1900's shop advertising and sometimes its the only way to get hold of it as the original artwork may not even exist. In your case I image that the originals are safely locked away in a Chinese vault or museum since this sort of work is illegal to export and as I understand it, royal work is even more protected. The value of yours will of course be different from something that was original and hand painted. Someone else will have a better idea than me on that although anything royal and original is going to be priceless isn’t it. Any help? I hope so.
Best wishes David

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: Rev. Joed Miller Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Mahalo for your long response. it is informative. I need to look and see the spots like you say. Ok I reviewed the pieces with a magnifying glass and the indentations or dots we are seeing is actually in the paper/silk itself it appears. but you say that even in an 1875 lithograph these may perhaps have a nice value?? And that if they ARE hand painted or bock stamped they might be originals of great importance?? I am totally a novice & appreciate all of your advice. But of course I am getting old and have congestive heart failure and am actually trying to find home for all my "treasures", I have collected my entire life odd things and mom left me quite a bit over the years. I even have a occupied set of Noritake which I know is not rare unless of course you can find a set that was only made in one set and a special color & pattern unlisted in any of the companies history of sold patterns made as single gifts during occupied Japan just to keep the artisans and kilns operating. I have one set like this. but in this thread the scrolls are my interest. Either way id like to learn more and possibly see to it that they find a good proud home either as lithos from 1875 or the far rarer more valuable original's and see to it that everyone who helps, my wife and the new owner enjoy the transaction and do well. If I am wrong in requesting help I apologize. Kind regards, Rev. Joed Miller

Subject:Re: help identifying scroll stamps
Posted By: rat Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Yes, and it is highly unlikely that this image was made or purchased in the 1930s, when Japan had invaded and was occupying substantial parts of China and the imperial collection (of which this was a part) had been put in crates and moved south and southwest from Beijing (

"...after Japan invaded north China in 1931 and threatened to move toward Beijing, the government, fearing the artifacts might be destroyed or carted off to Japan, shipped them, in more than 19,000 wooden crates, south to Nanjing, the new capital, in early 1933. Then, just days before the Japanese destroyed Nanjing in 1937, they were divided into three groups and sent into hiding along three separate routes. Some of the most valuable objects ended up here in Chongqing, the wartime capital."

Even the wealthiest Japanese collectors at this time published their collections of Chinese art in black and white; offset lithographic prints, in color, of individual Chinese paintings that were still held in the imperial collection were vanishingly rare then. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |