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Subject:Help identifying mark on asian bowl
Posted By: John Arthur Fri, Aug 03, 2018 IP:

I have just acquired this bowl and was wondering if anyone knows whether it is japanese or chinese and what the marks mean

Subject:Re: Help identifying mark on asian bowl
Posted By: Bill H Sat, Aug 04, 2018

Your bowl is Chinese, and its mark reads down in the photo shown as "Great Qing Imperial Kitchen" (大清御膳房 - Da qing yu shan fang). No. 733 in "The New and Revised Handbook of Marks on Chinese Ceramics" (2013 Revised Edition) by Gerald Davison" is "Imperial Kitchen" (Yu shan fang - 御膳房), which was used during the Kangxi period (1662-1722). This is the book's only entry for "imperial kitchen", although two other marks also use the term "Shanfang" in its other meaning of "dining room".

The same five-character mark borne by your bowl is found on the semi- and fully-glazed bases of other bowls of various colors that have been under discussion for years in Mainland China internet forums; new examples are currently on sale in some Chinese web malls. The best forum estimates of age are that some of these may be products of the Republic Period (1912-49). However, a couple of deductions might be drawn from the limited information shown in your single photo:

I believe it would be unusual for any piece of marked food-service porcelain from the imperial kiln to not have at least a patch of glaze to bear a more permanent mark than apparently is seen painted onto the biscuit base of your bowl.

The ground in dirt and grime seen on the bottom of this purported imperial bowl and some like it seen online almost certainly means they are contemporary-period fakes, dirtied up by unscrupulous makers to enhance the appearance of age. Authentic imperial wares are rare treasures, kept clean and displayed in the best possible condition by museums and collectors lucky enough to own them. However, the makers and sellers of fake antiques in China and elsewhere correctly assume that many of their their customers in the West equate dirty things with old things.

Following are a couple of links to some of the cited online pieces.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Help identifying mark on asian bowl
Posted By: john Mon, Aug 06, 2018

Thanks for the informative reply.
I was deeply suspicous of it myself
It would have been all to easy to just paint that on, and also the script itself is not great quality
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