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Re: Boys with Offerings Vase?

Posted By: Bill H
Posted Date: Jul 10, 2016 (07:20 PM)

I believe your boys vase was made in the modern era for decorative use. It is in the Ming style, with what almost is a "five-color" (wucai) palette, although the usual underglaze blue is compartmented to the faux Wanli six-character base-mark, leaving just red, yellow, black and green in the main design as best I can tell. Not to worry, though, as wucai has a flexible composition of hues, according to my New York Metropolitan Museum "Handbook of Chinese Ceramics".

A greater departure from traditional treatment of this pattern seems to be the lack of animation in the children. In olden days, the Chinese doted on their male progeny, seeing them as the keys to a type of immortality through Confucian ancestor worship. The boys in this kind of art would normally be shown as robust and happy, where these not only seem to be frozen in time but without vitality. Along with the poor resolution of your photos, the mechanical treatment of design elements in the borders tends to enhance the lack of vibrancy to critics like myself, but keep in mind, the fact that you bought it because you like it should always be the prime motive of any collector.

Here's a link to a Guangxu-period famille verte boys vase which may help demonstrate the difference. Boys shown around its neck are carrying symbols such as the "ruyi" scepter and iconic weapons or farming implements, indicating commitment to succeed on behalf of their forebears.

Best regards,

Bill H.

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