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Subject:Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Seb Wed, Nov 18, 2020 IP: 81.2.83.94

I recently bought this piece which I think is by Tian Hexian, in part from comparison with the pair of vases pictured.

Anyway - it was described as a censer.
I suppose it must be, but I've never seen something of this type before. Has anyone else?






Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Nov 19, 2020

This is a Chinese porcelain hotpot for use at the table. May be missing the metal apparatus that holds the charcoal and vents through the hole in the lid. This one looks like it's probably Republic period (1912-49). The inscription is not readable.

Here's a link to one with decoration that was popular during the Guangxu period (1875-1908) with dragon-phoenix decoration for comparison, though it has a four-character faux mark of Qianlong.

https://www.1stdibs.co.uk/furniture/asian-art-furniture/ceramics/large-chinese-porcelain-hot-pot-se-asian-straits-19th-century-phoenix-dragon/id-f_20401762/

Best regards,

Bill H.


Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Seb Bacon Fri, Nov 20, 2020

Fantastic, that's absolutely right! Thanks so much.

Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Mark Adams Thu, Nov 19, 2020

Hi seb,
Tian Hexian (1892-1952) was a famous artist from the Republic period. He was a member of the eight friends of zushan. His works if genuine are very sought after and expensive. Most said examples claiming to be by his hand are attributes or fakes.
It's very difficult to judge by one picture only. Could you please provide more pictures. In particular to the calligraphy and read mark.
By the way the example cited by you does not look right. Once again it's only one picture.
[email protected]

Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Seb Fri, Nov 20, 2020

Thanks Mark. I'm awaiting delivery and will upload more photos when it arrives (probably a couple of weeks).

I based my guess on two things - the detail of the blossom (illustrated) which is indistinguishable from genuine examples online; and the other lots it was sold alongside, which also look authentic. Looking forward to looking at the inscriptions and decoration in more detail.

I thought it worth a punt, because it seems so odd for a forger to pick such an unusual subject (i.e. the birds) and form for this artist. Of course the irony here is that this also makes it harder to assess as genuine because there's very little to compare them against!

That's how I found the vases: I did a Baidu image search in Chinese, trying to find Tian Hexian examples with birds, and this is the only thing I found. The photo is from a Chinese auction in 2012 where the lot achieved RMB 138,000, so the market back then considered them authentic, but there again, that's when Republic period was getting silly prices...



Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Mark Adams Sat, Nov 21, 2020

Hi Seb,
Distinguishing between genuine and later copies/attributes is very difficult when it comes to works by the 'eight friends of zushan'.
I would even suggest that some later pieces are even better than their originals!
I would be cautious with comparing works by said artist via chinese auctions. I have seen some very odd results for what is clearly later pieces by
Xu Zhongnan. Just to name one. I would prefer sotheby's/christies. However for comparison purposes their sites may be difficult due to the lack of HD pictures.
In the meantime if you can obtain a copy of 'Chinese porcelain of the republic period' by Simon Kwan.
There are a number of examples by said artist with clear pictures of read mark and calligraphy style. This is the 'Bible' when it comes to high end republican porcelain. Simon Kwan is in my opinion the #1 authority when it comes to works by the said masters.
Another good reference is 'Innovations and creations a retrospect of 20th century porcelain from jingdezhen'.
I look forward to viewing your additional pictures etc. I can also assist you with images/opinion etc from said references if you are unable to find them. The Simon Kwan book is very expensive.
[email protected]

Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Seb Sun, Nov 22, 2020

Thanks Mark. I know you're right about Kwan because when I took an item to be appraised at Christie's the first thing they did was get that book off the shelf! I got the impression that it's such an essential reference, that if an item doesn't look very like something in that book, they're not interested. I've been looking for a copy for a long time! Books are clearly necessary in general -- I'm looking at a piece supposedly by Bi Botao and am struck that there almost no authentic pieces online for comparison. I have "The Complete Collection of Porcelain of Jiangxi Province" on order. Will be in touch, thanks for your help! I'm practically addicted to pieces from this period...


Subject:Re: Is this Republic era form a censer?
Posted By: Mark Adams Mon, Nov 23, 2020

Hi Seb,
Ah another one addicted to republic period porcelain!
The book by Simon Kwan is very expensive but sometimes it appears on eBay at crazy prices. You can still buy a second edition (not a reprint) from Hong Kong for HK $880 plus shipping. That's were I bought mine a year or so ago.
muwengtang.com
I do correspond with Simon from time to time. He is really a very nice man to talk to.
I like you love republic period porcelain. In particular the eight friends of zushan.
In addition I love jades and japanese porcelain/bronze.
At the moment I only have one genuine piece by Xu Zhongnan and two attributes by He Xuren and Wang Yeting.
Sadly the market is flooded with copies that has unfortunately impacted the market over the last few years.
[email protected]


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