Subject:Re: The Detection Of Fakes 2nd Edition
Posted By: JLim Fri, Oct 20, 2017
Thank you very much for your response. There are some points I would like to mention:
First, I was surprised to note that a black ink mark similar to mine is also present within the foot of your 19th century langyao object. I was then even more surprised to look through Mr Allen's books and find similar black marks (page 138 of the first book and pages 207 and 210 of the second book).
In the case of our two objects, and two of Mr Allen's objects, the markings are mere smears of ink. However, in two other of Allen's examples the ink marks seem to be actual Chinese words, hastily written, which I cannot read.
Has anyone noted the presence of these black ink marks before, as diagnostic of 19th century langyao? I assume people have noticed it from time to time.
I would guess the following: check marks (whether quality control, marking for certain destinations or whatever) were being used in the 19th century for all forms of porcelain. For most forms of porcelain such check marks would merely be painted on to the sides and wiped off with trivial ease when the object was being packed. However, on red vases, a black mark would be nearly invisible. The worker would be obliged to paint the check marks inside the foot of the vase on the relatively pale base. This mark might go unnoticed on packing, whereupon the ink would dry on and become indelible. After a hundred or so years the ink becomes completely stuck to the object and cannot be wiped off.
Second, I am intrigued by something I just read in Hobson "Chinese Pottery And Porcelain" Vol 2 p125. Regarding the crackled grey-green glaze often found within the foot of langyao objects (including our two langyaos) Hobson says "...one is tempted to ask if it was not in fact intended to be a sang-de-boeuf red glaze from which a lack of oxygen or some other accident of the kiln has dispelled all the red...these conditions might well be present in such an enclosed space as the foot of the bowl..."
This is intriguing, because as Allen says, Langyao of the late 19th century is characterised by bases which "may be of a greyish white or...sometimes greyish white crackle or alternatively a white glaze with underglaze blue circles..." (Book I page 137).
Is it possible that the grey-green crackling inside the base of these objects could simply be (deliberately) misfired versions of the langyao red? Nigel Wood's "Chinese Glazes" says that iron based glazes in moderate reduction, ie fired in relative absence of oxygen, produces a celadon glaze, but that same iron based glaze, in the presence of oxygen, produces langyao red.
I would suggest that the grey-green crackling is simply the exact same glaze as the outer glaze, added to the inside of the foot, and inside the belly, of the vase. When fired in the kiln, the relative lack of oxygen in both locations would produce a celadon green, while the remainder of the vase would turn red. In short, one glaze, two colours.
Third, yes, my vase has a certain degree of wear to the shine, especially around the "shoulders" and "upper belly" of the form. However, the remainder of the vase is much more shiny and resembles your vase more.