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Subject:Tongzhi Lidded Jar
Posted By: Peter Wed, Jul 29, 2020 IP:


Are there any experts who might be able to pass comment on this lidded jar ? The faces of the characters appear not unlike those from the Tongzhi period, but I have concerns as to whether the jar could be a more recent copy.

Thanking you all in advance.

Best Regards,

Subject:Re: Tongzhi Lidded Jar
Posted By: Miano Fri, Aug 07, 2020

Hello Peter,

I agree this could be a piece from the Tongzhi period; The Tongzhi Emperor (27 April 1856 – 12 January 1875). Despite this not being marked, it is a good quality piece.

The Firing is consistent and exposes the biscuit as one would expect with the refined firing processes of the late Qing dynasty. In addition, I note the rust spots which provide some aged evidence.

Finally, when I refer to the (closology) insights from Tommy Eklof's book, "Dating Chinese Porcelain from Facial Features and Adornments - A HANDBOOK" I conclude that the facial features, different outlines, hairstyles and clothes align with the stated period.

Facial features/Different outlines - Light red brown of the face is consistent with pieces made between 1730 and 1870.  The mouths were highlighted with a big red dot and a vertical stroke.
Hairstyles - 1 or 2 braided hair tufts first occurred very late in the 19th Century and remained fashionable until about 1930.  
Clothes - The design and green rich pigment are characteristic of  the Famille verte used to represent robes during this late Qing Dynasty period.

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Subject:Re: Tongzhi Lidded Jar
Posted By: Peter Fri, Aug 07, 2020

Hello Miano !

Many thanks indeed for your time and effort in providing all this very useful information regarding Tongzhi pieces.
Your time and obvious expertise are both sincerely appreciated not just by myself, but no doubt by many other readers of the forum.

Wishing you all the best,


Subject:Re: Tongzhi Lidded Jar
Posted By: Bill H Fri, Aug 07, 2020

Virtually all the jars I've encountered in this globular and taller melon jar form with slender lotus knops have been Republic period or later. It has also been my experience that most Tongzhi-period minyao (popular kiln) porcelains made after the mid-1860s are usually marked. I also note that there is an apparent degradation of the figure-painting style and enamels when this jar's decoration is compared to what I consider to be a more typical example from the Tongzhi period. Herewith a couple of images of a period saucer.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Tongzhi Lidded Jar
Posted By: Peter Sat, Aug 08, 2020

Hello Bill!

Many thanks indeed for sharing your observations and very interesting comments.
I must admit that the slightly stiff characters on the jar definately lack the animation and vibrancy shown on your period piece. Furthermore, the facial features seem to lack any individuality, with the result that the characters almost seem to be cloned. It now appears to me (after further deliberation) that the artist seems to be going through the motions of painting a typical scene in Tongzhi style - if you see what I mean.

Although the design and condition of the jar do appeal to me, I have decided to pass on this one and in future consider only (supposed) Tongzhi pieces that are marked.

It is indeed very satisfying to be able to continually acquire knowledge so as be better equipped when evaluating a prospective purchase. However, as a novice collector of some ten months or so, this collecting Chinese porcelain lark doesn't get any easier !!

Nevertheless, thanks again to the kind assistance of experts like yourself and your colleagues, I'll soldier on in the quest to improve my modest, but growing collection !!

Wishing you guys all the very best,
Peter | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |