Posted By: Bill Sun, Sep 20, 2009
I found your statement
"..this tripod is genuine." quite intriguing.
Since I did not know anything about Chinese ceramic but was simply trying to translate the Chinese seal scripts found on the bottom of this tripod plate and to give my best guess regarding its source - Jian Fu Gong and to provide a short history of the imperial palace and its west garden. Therefore if I had inadvertently misled you or others the age of this plate, I would like to apologize.
I have no idea what it meant if any one would ask me if this tripod plate is genuine. It surely looks like a genuine tripod plate to me. Is it authentic? Authentic as what? Since I had not and could not say exactly how old it is, therefore I recommended GT Saw to seek professional helps in appraising this plate and in translating both the Manchurian and Seal Scripts on it. May be then they can find out more about it by tracing the original source of the poem (?) (four sentences of five characters each). Or some of these many ceramic experts in this forum can help him.
The things that intrigue me about this plate are the Manchurina scripts and seal scripts found on it because when I studied the Qing Emperor QianLong reign marks found on authentic QianLong jade bowls, some of these marks were quite similar to those found on ceramic. The genuine QingLong reign marks were also executed very nicely. (*I did not see any QianLong mark on this piece, by the way.) Furthermore, the Emperor QianLong loved to write poems and have them "carved" on jade bowls and ceramic pieces from his imperial collection. Just like the picture of the Northern Song tripod bowl shown by kk was calligraphed with his poem. However, one thing I had learned from my research is, almost in 90% of the examples, the poems written by QingLong were being calligraphed in Regular (Standard) scripts and not in Seal Scripts. Many of the fake QianLong jade items were calligraphed with these type of seal scripts and with very bad QiangLong seal marks. Therefore it is almost easy to tell right away that they are fakes. I do not know if same may apply to ceramic or not.
Since the West Garden of the Jian Fu Palace was not built until Year 5 of QianLong (1740) and was burnt down on June 26, 1923. The palace itself was not built till 1742 and was remodeled in 1802(Year 7 of Jiaqing). http://wikimapia.org/5771359/cn/%E5%BB%BA%E7%A6%8F%E5%AE%AE
Therefore this tripod plate could have been made at any time between 1740 - 1923 if it has anything to do with the Jian Fu Palace or its West Garden.
Can it be a sovenir plate made when they had rebuilt the West Garden in 2005? Sure, but unlikely.
It is because any time when I see any Manchurian scripts being executed "nicely" on any jade items I have to give it serious consideration that this is a piece that was made during the late Qing dynasty although not necessarily during the QianLong era. The reason is the Manchurian scripts are very difficult to learn, speak or write.
"Manchu began as a primary language of the Qing dynasty Imperial court, but as Manchu officials became increasingly sinicized, many started losing the language. Trying to preserve the Manchu identity, the imperial government instituted Manchu language classes and examinations for the bannermen, offering various rewards to those who excelled in the language. As Yongzheng Emperor (reigned 1722-1735) explained, "If some special encouragement ... is not offered, the ancestral language will not be passed on and learned". Still, the use of the language among the bannermen was in decline throughout the 1700s. Historical records report that as early as 1776, Emperor Qianlong was shocked to see a high Manchu official, Guo'ermin, not understand what the emperor was telling him in Manchu, despite coming from the Manchu stronghold of Shengjing (now Shenyang). By the 19th century even the imperial court had lost fluency in the language. The Jiaqing Emperor (reigned 1796 to 1820) complained about his officials being good neither at understanding nor writing Manchu. By the end of the 19th century the language was so moribund that even at the office of the Shengjing (Shenyang) general, the only documents written in Manchu (rather than Chinese) would be the memorials wishing the emperor long life; at the same time period, the archives of the Hulan banner detachment in Heilongjiang show that only 1% of the bannermen could read Manchu, and no more than 0.2% could speak it. "
"The use of the language for the official documents declined throughout the Qing history as well. Especially at the beginning of the dynasty, some documents on sensitive political and military issues were submitted in Manchu but not in Chinese. Later on, most Imperial documents were drafted in both Chinese and Manchu, and at least some records in Manchu continued to be produced until the last years of the dynasty, which was overthrown in 1912."
As you can see, even during the QianLong era many Manchurian officials could no longer speak or write Manchurian. Today, there are simply not that many people left who can speak or write the Manchurian language. It is not possible for modern forgers to write any Manchurian scripts unless they copy them from somewhere.
Therefore while I do not know anything about Chinese ceramic, however juding by the quality of both the seal scripts and Manchurian scripts found on this tripod plate, while I do not believe it was made during the QianLong era, I believe there is a very good possibility that it was made during either the JiangQing or Daoguang era (that means during the first or second quarter of the nineteen century)to commemorate a special occasion at the Jian Fu Gong West Garden or may be a part of the Garden collections. Of course, this is only my assumption and can be totally off the mark. It is quite possible that they might have made a whole bunch of these plates by copying a "genuine" one and sell them as sovenirs. If that is the case, I believe the forum members would have no troubles in locating another similar piece to show us here. However, if any of us can translate all the seal scripts on this tripod and trace its origin and the ceramic experts in this forum can examine the quality of this plate closely, may be we can shed more light into the "age" of it. Then may be your question "is it genuine" can be better answered.
http://cd1.edb.hkedcity.net/cd/pshe/download/Content_5803/palace%20museum_lecture1.pdf (quite a few reference inside this pdf article about the Jiang Fu Palace)
P.S. Genuine or authentic? - Jade
When the terms "genuine" or "authentic" are used on jade carvings, it is almost very confusing, at least to me.
Does "genuine" refer to its material or age of a jade carving?
If we describe a jade carving was made of genuine or real jade, what exactly do we mean?
Does it mean it was made of either jadeite or nephrite?
There are many authentic archaic Chinese jades that were not made of either jadeite or nephrite but were made of other stones such as serpentine (Xiu Yan jade) and Feldspar (DuShan jade). Actually not until the middle Qing dynasty, jadeite was not used for the carving of jade and was not considered "real" jade.
Therefore, does that mean an authentic archaic Chinese jade carving that was not made of nephrite or jadeite should not be considered "genuine"?
What exactly does authentic mean?
If a jade carving that was made during Song dynasty but was attributed incorrectly as that of Qing dynasty, does that make it not authentic?
If a modern jade carving that was made during the 21st century and described as such, does that make it authentic?
Now makes it worse, what exactly is "modern" jade carving?
Does any jade carving that is less than 100 years old should be considered as "modern"? Or any jade carvings that were made after Qing dynasty or after 1911? If it is the first defintion, that mean a Qing dynasty piece made in 1911 will be "modern"?
Or does modern refer to the carving techniques being employed to make a jade carving? That means those jade carvings that have modern tool marks (resulted from electrical carving tools with high rpm and polishing with diamond/corundum grit in high rpm; after early 1960s) should be considered "modern" while those with tu marks (from manual tu) should not be considered as "modern"?
I really cannot help but to post these questions here because different terms can mean different things to different people, especially in jade collecting. Thanks for your patience and forgive my rambling.