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Subject:Polychrome porcelain baluster vase , Chinese?
Posted By: Sally Wed, Mar 11, 2020 IP:

Hi ,
this vase is about 7" tall. Decorated in underglaze polychrome enamels , overglaze black and red. The potting and decoration is not the finest but I find it intriguing. Some of the figure and background elements , like the big blue rock on one side are not quite like anything I've seen before. I 'd welcome any opinions as to date and place of manufacture.

Subject:Re: Polychrome porcelain baluster vase , Chinese?
Posted By: Sally Thu, Mar 12, 2020

Here 's a photo of the other side. Having had a closer look , I'm not sure this is a true porcelain so may actually be European? which could explain why the decoration doesn't look quite right. Also , it appears to have been made in 2 parts, the joining line quite visible below the shoulder.

Subject:Re: Polychrome porcelain baluster vase , Chinese?
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Mar 12, 2020

One of my references, the 1998 V&A reprint of Rose Kerr's 1986 book, "Chinese Ceramics--Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911", has a picture on page 25 that came to mind when I saw your vase. It shows a cup with "Eight Immortals" decoration from the 1730-1750 period. The deities are shown crossing the ocean on lotus leaves, their garments and the leaves rendered in bright primary color washes with folds in the robes represented by dark penciling. The decoration on your vase captures a trace of the technique seen in this early example, but in my opinion, doesn't come very close to matching its degree of animation and artistic expression. Unfortunately for our purposes, the book's content is copyrighted against reproduction.

As to age, I'd guess from the figural style that this is late first quarter, 20th century. The puddle of glaze in the middle of the base may have been to conceal damage inflicted when the bottom apparently underwent significant reduction, I suspect on an automatic grinding machine.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Polychrome porcelain baluster vase , Chinese?
Posted By: Sally Fri, Mar 13, 2020

Thank you Bill. That makes a lot of sense, stylistically early to mid 18th but almost certainly of 20th century manufacture. My doubts about it being true porcelain are based on it's lack of translucence, though that could be because it's a bit too heavy to see through. It does appear to be a hard paste though, definitely not soft. I'm told that cobalt blue is a hard glaze to control which could explain the odd appearance of the blue areas . I'd assumed the glaze spot on the bottom was to conceal a small crack but your point about the grinding makes sense. Thanks again, Sally | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |