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Subject:Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Michael Tue, Jul 11, 2006 IP: 204.191.160.41

Can anyone tell when this is an authentic Kangxi mark or is it retrospective?



Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Primroy Tue, Jul 11, 2006

It would help to see the quality of the decoration, the footrim, and overall shape.

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Wed, Jul 12, 2006

Michael,

You know enough to be aware that any mark can be re-created at any time. Looking at the mark itself will tell you little.

Your real question is about the item this appears on: was it made during the early part of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor? Was it made at Imperial direction or for use of the Imperial household or for the Emperor himself? The mark in itself will not answer these questions.

Here are some 4-character Kangxi marks believed to be genuine because of the type and quality of ware they are on and very specific known histories.

If you wish to know about the piece, that is what should be discussed!

Best regards,
Judy



Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Wed, Jul 12, 2006

I agree that it is always helpful to post photos of the item, its underside and foot rim as well.

There is no possibility, in my opinion, that this mark is of the Kangxi period.
Firstly, there are to my knowledge NO underglaze blue four character Kangxi marks of the period known.
Secondly, it is very poorly, almost casually, written, unlike any calligraphy acceptable to the Imperial household.

These marks are commonly found on export blue and white of the very late Qing dynasty, probably 1890 at the earliest, most will be later.

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Thu, Jul 13, 2006

Anthony,

Thank you very much for your comment re: 4-character marks. Looks like I am going to have to do more annotating of the 'authorities'.

Can you point me to another source regarding later use of such marks as illustrated?

Appreciatively,
Judy

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Thu, Jul 13, 2006

Hi Judy,
In the field of Chinese ceramics, for almost every rule there will be an exception. But not in my experience with this one. I have never seen an underglaze blue four character Kangxi mark that is of the period.

For much of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and early Qianlong reigns there was an Imperial ban on private factories using the reign mark of the ruling Emperor. For part of the Kangxi reign the ban also extended to the Imperial factory. But it seems not to have been enforced for part of these reigns, and there are quite numerous examples of non-Imperial works with mainly six character reign marks that are of the period.
Regards
Tony

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Tony,

Thank you for your cautious comment. Guess for the time being I will enter in Tong Yihua's book that your experience indicates these marks are not of the period.

Is it not amazing how much is known and yet, how little.

Best Regards,
Judy

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Sinoart Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Hi Michael
Enclosed are two Kangxi minyao marks for your reference.
One is from book "Ming Qing Porcelain Marks" p78.
Another is from book "Ming Qing Minyao Porcelain Appraise" Kangxi part p174.
Best regards

Sinoart





Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Time to update the books, here is a shard discovered in China.

Ed





Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Sun, Jul 16, 2006

Ed,

Found where "in China"; datable stratum? 2005 excavation of 1940s habitations for rebuilding in Shanghai . . .?

Best Regards,
Judy

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Sun, Jul 16, 2006

Judy- One of the principles of evaluation in making a determination, is paste quality. We know that during the late transitional period and early 18th century, that the quality control factor was at the pinnacle of the production process. There is a marked difference in the texture and feel between an early 18th and 19th century comparison.

It is not enough to judge solely on the color hue of the cobalt, for it must be understood that there were overlapping periods, where in some cases it is difficult to differentiate, say a Yongzheng or Kangxi, also it must be remembered that you have artisans that painted in the Kangxi reign that were still doing so in the Qianlong reign. All elements must come together when making a judgement call.

This shard was submitted at my request from another moderator on a Chinese/English website. It will astound you how little we Westerners really know, that is the lack thereof.

We can not afford to be closed minded, only to look at things a certain way; in other words, if we come to judge all blue and white porcelains due our limited exposure, ie, from books, museums, or the market; then we will limit ourselves in the narrow scope of illogical thinking.

There were better than 300 kilns operating in the Jingdezhen area at the height of production. You asked where and what strata? Well the Kangxi strata of course, and a kiln that has not been fired for more than 290 years.

How many different shapes and sizes do you suppose that were being produced in this era? Thousands upon thousands, and many are not recorded, can we afford to box ourselves in? Do we say that if something does not follow a strict criteria, that it can not be correct?

If we narrow our veiws, then we are no different from our European ancestors, who for centuries believed that the earth was square and if we travel too far, then we will all fall off.

Regards, Ed

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Annette Parmelee Fri, Apr 07, 2017

I acquired this piece from a 100 year old woman who was a world traveler. She was know to have antique pieces right next to decorator items. There is an etched accession number on the bottom. Thanks so much for your help, Annette

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Hi Judy,
I stress the fact I said "underglaze blue four character Kangxi reign marks".
There were a few four character iron red Kangxi marks and of course numbers of underglaze blue six character marks in kaishu script.
I have also yet to see a Kangxi mark in seal script of the period.
Regards
Tony

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Ed,
There have been several postings in between my comment above and your sherd.
I have not seen this sherd before, but I must say it looks convincing. As to the Chinese ones I will keep an open mind. Both of them are of a strange hue of blue that I do not associate with Kangxi.
The rule will have to be changed to "almost invariably underglaze blue four character Kangxi marks are of later date".
I stand corrected.
Regards
Tony

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Here is two examples, one is a 4 character Kangxi foliate cup, the other is perhaps one of the finest examples of a minyao, with shop mark.

By the quality of the paste and execution of design you would think it was imperial. So far you have two 4 character marked specimens, and of the period. Yes Judy... There is much to learn.

Ed







Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Additional photos for study.

Ed







Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Additional photos for study.

Ed







Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Additional photos for study.

Ed







Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Fri, Jul 14, 2006

Further photos and conclusive proof of everything that I said.

Ed







Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Sun, Jul 16, 2006

Anthony,

Thank you again. I did take your point.

Best Regards,
Judy

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Sun, Jul 16, 2006

No Ed,
Don't get carried away.

While I concede the first sherd looks to be Kangxi, your second small bowl/cup does not. It is in my opinion typical of pieces of the late Qing, copying Kangxi originals. I have any number of them in my database.

In some 25 years of collecting and dealing in Chinese porcelain, I have NEVER handled a Kangxi four character piece that I or anyone else to my knowledge believed to be Kangxi period. On that basis I assume they, if they do exist, are exceptionally rare.

Your first photo of the sherd raises the possibility that they do exist. But I still have not had the opportunity of handling it and looking at it through my eyeglass.

The second, foliate rimmed dish, looks to be Kangxi/Yongzheng circa 1720.

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Mon, Jul 17, 2006

"In some 25 years of collecting and dealing in Chinese porcelain, I have NEVER handled a Kangxi four character piece that I or anyone else to my knowledge believed to be Kangxi period."
Tony.


Hi Tony- I find this discussion very interesting
and stimulating. It may be assumed that I am looking for an argument, but nothing can be further from the truth. It is discussions like these where we can possibly learn from others and
add to our individual learning. I am such that I
explore every possibility and will not allow myself to be cemented in any opinion until I have exhausted every avenue and resource before a conclusion is made.

Just because something has not been experience nor handled, does not rule out the possibility of its existence. Take for instance the tomb of the first emperor; it was once believed that he
was only legendary until his tomb was discovered in the early 70's.

I understand how most would assume that the foliate cup is a later production, due the color of cobalt and poor design details. Yet if you examine the paste quality its texture and appearance, you are forced to conclude an earlier date.

First, the cup is not completely translucent, but is semi-translucent, meaning that the light will not shine through were it would under normal conditions; unlike what you would encounter in later productions. Perhaps you were not aware of the semi-eggshell porcelain that was produced in the Chenghua reign of the Ming dynasty? Have you ever handled one?

Did you ever question why the Chenghua reign mark appeared on many kangxi porcelains apart from the normal explanation? I am sure that you know of the Kangxi emperors attempts of having these porcelains of the Xuande and Chenghua reigns reproduced. Moreover, it stands to reason that we cannot conclude anything until we have a clear record of what was actually produced in China proper.

I recall a discussion from a departed friend of mine on the subject of Tang blue and white; he and many scholars debated for years on the subject. He maintained that during the Tang dynasty, the Chinese had exposure to the Persian blue cobalt, they noticed the bright blue earthenware, and obtained the cobalt from the Persians through trade; they proceeded to experiment with the underglaze and had a measure of sucess. He always maintained that Tang blue and white existed, despite the fact of how unpopular that notion was at the time; every expert in the field denounced his theory, until a certain shipwreck was discovered two years later after the fact.

So this is what I am saying... We cannot afford to allow our own prejudice to obscure what might be the truth. There is discoveries to be made, things to learn. For the fact that you can not determine whether plate #2 is Kangxi or Yongzheng, testifies that there is some degree of doubt which period it actually belongs. But the Chinese know that is belongs to the Kangxi period only... Do you know why?

Thank you for your thoughtful and stimulating points of veiw.

Regards, Ed

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Mon, Jul 17, 2006

Hi Ed,
You are reminding me of an elderly, now regrettably deceased, friend of mine, who genuinely believed that every piece he found had an Imperial provenance; and if it didn't, he concocted one.

If you look at the body of the foot rim of your cup you will see (and feel) the mediocrity of the levigation of the paste, not to mention the watery lifelessness of the underglaze blue, in comparison with your underglaze blue dish.

On my last visit to Jingdezhen the museum director showed and allowed the members of the Oriental Ceramic Society present to handle, a reassembled Chenghua mark and period chicken cup which had been recovered from the Imperial kiln site. So, to answer your question, yes I have handled one.

Now to the question of Tang dynasty blue. Tang dynasty sancai glaze with cobalt blue decoration, although uncommon, has been known in the West for over a century. Your comments regarding your friends "discovery" to me make no sense.

Ed, with respect, if you think porcelain manufacturing techniques changed merely because an Emperor died, then I am wasting my time debating this subject with you. For your information, the type of mark used on the foliate rimmed dish is most commonly associated with the Yongzheng reign, while the deep cobalt blue is usually earlier, in the Kangxi reign. I said circa 1720, covering both possibilities, but you seem to have a problem with that?

Regards
Tony


Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Tue, Jul 18, 2006

"You are reminding me of an elderly, now regrettably deceased, friend of mine, who genuinely believed that every piece he found had an Imperial provenance; and if it didn't, he concocted one."

Tony- I actually have more respect for you and your scholarly quest for learning and sharing, than to insult you on that level.

Each submitted photo on this particular thread was used by permission from a Chinese discussion forum. I asked the moderators if they knew of any known example of a underglazed 4 character Kangxi mark. The shard example was submitted by Mavis, a respected teacher and expert; the others were submitted by a collector friend of mine.

According to the Chinese, 4 character underglaze Kangxi marks indeed existed, but as you stated are very rare. You will need to go to China to examine the shard/s to make a final judgment. I can help connect you if that is what you wish.

The foliate cup, though a Kangxi design, is perhaps as you say. I wanted to see both opinions from different points of view, the one from the seasoned collectors view, the other from an experts view.

The reference concerning the Tang underglaze blue ware, is not the sancai type but indeed of the actual under clear glaze type.

I will submit your comments to the Chinese.

Regards, Ed


Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Wed, Jul 19, 2006

Hi Ed,
My comment was not intended as an insult. I was just reflecting on these comments which you made, "I am such that I explore every possibility and will not allow myself to be cemented in any opinion until I have exhausted every avenue and resource before a conclusion is made". And "If we narrow our veiws, then we are no different from our European ancestors, who for centuries believed that the earth was square and if we travel too far, then we will all fall off".

Yet you posted what to me is an obvious circa 1900 fake and declared it to be Kangxi.

There must be room for opinions to differ.

Regards
Tony

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Edward Shumaker Thu, Jul 20, 2006

Tony- Thank you for making your point clear.
However I indeed posted the cup as Kangxi, yet it was done on behalf of my friend Zhuanyan, the
original owner of the cup. He has a very impressive collection of Kangxi wares, some are imperial.

I had my own doubts due the color and overall presentation. Understand that I was mediating between various opinions on two different forums.

Again, thank you for your kindness.

Ed

Subject:Re: Kangxi Mark ? or imitation ?
Posted By: Judy Thu, Jul 20, 2006

Gentlemen,

Since the kerfuffle has subsided a bit, perhaps Michael, upon whose question so much was stacked, would be kind enough to show us the piece upon which he found the first-illustrated mark.

Best Regards,
Judy


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