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Subject:Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Mon, Apr 18, 2022 IP: 2600:1700:d710:9750:

Hello, would appreciate any help in identifying the seal and translating the text on the case. Thanks in advance.







Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Mark Adams Tue, Apr 19, 2022

I believe its a Qianlong mark.
However I believe it's a 20th century copy.
I believe this because of the way (partially as its obscured) the dragon is depicted
Regards,
[email protected]

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Wed, Apr 20, 2022

Hi Mark, thanks. I assume the attached photos will confirm your opinion that it is (1H) 20th century. I believe it left China in 1949 with my in-law's family (along with other Chinese objects I'm posting). Maybe the inscription on the case will shed light.







Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Tue, Apr 19, 2022

According to the Gotheborg site, it looks like a Qianlong 1736-95 seal. (Perhaps best that I have it examined in person by an expert). I would still appreciate a translation of the storage case label. Thanks in advance. Norman

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: I,Nagy Wed, Apr 20, 2022

Storage case inscriptiion,
乾隆官窯五彩龍中盌 壹對
Pair of Qianlong Official Kiln Wucai Dragon and Phoenix Medium Bowl
Mark,
大清乾隆年製 
Made During the Qianlong Period of Great Qing Dynasty

With regards,
I.Nagy

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Apr 21, 2022

The seal mark on the bowl reads down as "Qianlong official kiln five-color bowls / one pair" (Qian long guan yao wu cai zhong wan / yi dui - 乾隆官窯彩中盌 / 壹對 )

The seal mark on the base the bowl reads down as "Made during the Qianlong Reign of the Great Qing Dynasty" (Da qing qian long nian zhi / 大清乾隆年制)

I agree with Mark the the bowl and the enamel colors on the dragon & phoenix look fairly modern.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Thu, Apr 21, 2022

Gents, thanks very much. I'm not overly surprised by the 20th century attribution- the colors do look bright (and a bit garish to my taste). Maybe it was given as gift post- 1949- it wouldn't be the first time family memories about art objects are misleading. Regards, Norman

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: I,Nagy Thu, Apr 21, 2022

Correction、- I missed one character -

乾隆官窯五彩龍鳳中盌 壹對 - is correct

I.Nagy

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Sun, Apr 24, 2022

Hi Folks,
It is not often that I disagree with Bill H's dating of Chinese porcelain, but I cannot let this assessment continue into the future without correction or comment.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it is Qianlong (1736 to 1795) mark and period, the superb quality of the decoration and reign mark indicating it was made for the Palace.

Both the five clawed dragon and the phoenix indicated the Emperor and Empress respectively, but not exclusively, as maybe seen by a search of Google for Qianlong dragon phoenix.
I have attached an example of a similar bowl sold by Sotheby's for in excess of US$20,000.

URL Title :Sotheby's wucai bowl


Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Sun, Apr 24, 2022

Well- I take back the 'garish' comment. The bowl colors are (to my uneducated eye) pristine and bright (as are the bowls themselves). So hard to believe they are ~300 years old. On the other hand, they have been protected in the case for upwards of 70 years, if not longer. Again, assuming they came out in 1949, I can attest that the family was wealthy (I've visited the former stand-alone house in the French Concession district in Shanghai), and they did have a sizable art collection, of which only a small portable portion was taken out for obvious reasons (and then further subdivided among the descendants). I had debated joining and posting this (and the blue and white bowls which seem more obscure) on Gotheborg- I think I'll do that now, and let more in on the fun. In any event, my hope is that our descendants keep all of the objects I'm posting in the family for years to come. Thanks everyone- what we are learning will add to the enjoyment.

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Bill H Mon, Apr 25, 2022

Tony, I appreciate correction, especially by you, my long-time mentor and friend, as well as other experts. This time I offer up some observations in response.

Sotheby's indeed sold an identically painted bowl as Norman's, saying in the listing:

"A Daoguang bowl of this pattern from the collection of Simon Kwan was included in the exhibition Imperial Porcelain of Late Qing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 1983, cat no 44; another from the Weishaupt collection was included in the exhibition From the Dragon's Treasure, Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt am Main, 1987, cat no 79." (End quote)

The Weishaupt catalog description of the Daoguang bowl states:

"This form goes back to the Wanli period (1573-1619) and was revived during the Kangxi era. However, in painting of the claws and teeth in white enamel is a 19th century characteristic." (End quote)

While you warned in "Allen's Antique Chinese Porcelain - The Detection of Fakes" how there exist exceptions to every rule, you mentioned one generalization holding that "Fake Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reign marks were not used until the reign of Guangxu (1875-1908).

Furthermore, the above-referenced Weishaupt catalog's final chapter, titled "After Hongxian" (1915-16), ends by illustrating a vase with a Qianlong six-character zhuanshu mark virtually identical to the one on Norman's bowl, albeit an iron red example.

I should apologize for sloppy editing of the initial line of my first posting, wherein I meant to state:

"The seal mark on the bowl's box top reads down as 'Qianlong official kiln five-color bowls / one pair (Qian long guan yao wu cai zhong wan / yi dui - 乾隆官窯彩中盌 / 壹對)'.

Otherwise, it appears to me that Mark's post and my agreement with his conclusion regarding the bowl's 20th century origins are reasonably supported by expert findings in both your book and the Weishaupt catalog.

Respectfully yours,

Bill




Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Tue, Apr 26, 2022

Thanks everyone. In the meantime, I have posted in the Gotheborg forum; Michaela kindly responded with the same two possibilities, but admitted it is not her area. I can confirm that my bowls have white enamel in the teeth and claws- so if that is a definitive characteristic of late 19th- early 20th century manufacture- then that seems to be the answer. Furthermore, the seal does seem more uniformly blue (but not stamped- it is definitely brushmarks) than some of the M&P Qianlong I've seen on line (no 'bubbles'), but I'm not an expert. The Sotheby's example does seem very similar in style with similar dimensions (mine is 14.9cm diameter, 6cm foot diameter, and 6.5cm tall). Unfortunately, the other examples cited in the catalog entry don't seem to be online, and the exhibition catalogs are definitely out of print and hard to find.

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Bill H Tue, Apr 26, 2022

Michaela is a pillar at gotheborg. We got acquainted ages ago when I was a contributor there and recently became co-collaborators with author Gerald Davison in adding a lot of her archived
collection of 20th century marks to Author Gerald Davison's Handbook of Marks on Chinese Ceramics. You must be familiar with her online blog and its gazillion archived images and other information on Chinese Porcelain at the Watersilkdragon website. If not, here's the URL for all interested parties:

https://watersilkdragon.wordpress.com/

The site is keyword searchable with most browsers.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Wed, Apr 27, 2022

Hi Bill, thanks. Again, I don't collect Chinese porcelain seriously (my interests are in Japanese prints primarily), but I like to find sources for generalized statements because I've found sometimes assumptions get repeated until they become fact. So following up on your comments, I have found at least two references to M&P Jiaqing dragon bowls with white enamel dragon teeth and claws (Sotheby's Hong Kong 8 April 2011 #3133 and John Ayers Vol II Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen #1106-1108). [Unfortunately, the online version of the Ayers catalog is truncated with only page 430 displayed, I would be grateful if someone could post page 431 and onwards as needed.] I guess the reference to 19th century in the Weishaupt catalog assumes the practice began later in the reign of Jiaqing. Fair enough. Apparently, to date, no one has found a M&P Qianlong piece with white enamel. The only examples I have found of white enameled dragon teeth and nails with a 'Qianlong' seal, are on Ebay (which almost guarantees a problem), such as the example below. I did notice something about many of the 'Qianlong' seals on Ebay, which I'll discuss below.
So if we assume that the white enamel teeth/claws rules out an authentic Qianlong piece, when was it made? You referenced a Tony Allen quote that fake reign marks did not occur until Guangxu (1875-1908). Assuming that is still generally believed (or at least not definitely disproven), you then referenced the Weishaupt catalog again with a iron-red seal mark dated 1915-1916. Can you post that image, so I can compare it? I have noticed that many of the Ebay 'Qianlongs' have a stumpier lower left 'trident' which is different from my piece. I've also read on Gotheborg: It's a very simplified rule but statistically speaking, marks from mid 19th century or later are actually mostly red, while older marks are mostly blue.

So this is my dilemma: I'm trying to understand the mentality of whoever made this 100+ years after the fact. If it was meant to be an honest homage, I would have expected a red seal (as per the Gotheborg comment and presumably the Weishaupt example). If it was meant to deceive, why make a rookie mistake of using white enamel? This would be like using analine dyes in a Harunobu woodblock print. It is difficult for me to believe that high end reproduction in the late 19th or early 20th century would not realize that white enamel was not used in Qianlong period. (Reproductions of the last 50 years- sure, anything is possible- but this piece predates that.)
Besides the seal, was there anything else in the design, colors that immediately flashed 20th century to you as opposed to possibly Guangxu period? I'm also trying to reconcile your and Tony's visceral reactions, as well as the interesting silence on Gotheborg except for Michaela who admits this is not her area of expertise.

Anyway, I didn't spend any money on it, and I'm not planning to sell it, so I'm fine with whatever it is, but it does seem curious.


URL Title :Likely not of the period 'Qianlong' dragon plate


Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Apr 28, 2022

The Qianlong plate shown at your eBay link appears to be fake. I searched liveauctioneers.com and found three Qianlong-marked dishes just like yours that were offered by different auction houses in Florida and California between 2016 and January of this year. The two California auctioneers drew no winning bidders, and while the April 2021 Florida lot was indicated to have sold for $1,000, that's a ridiculous sum when you consider what such a Qianlong period dish would sell for nowadays and speculators who don't know their stuff. (Images as attachments here.)

My scan also turned up similarly decorated bowls auctioned between 2015-2018 on liveauctioneers.cpm that variously bore Yongzheng, Daoguang and Guangxu marks, the latter having standard vice seal characters. One lot was listed as passed; the rest hammered in at between $16,000-$72,000. When considering how the PRC has long forbidden export of valuable antiques under its strict patrimonial laws, I strongly suspect many of these bowls were modern reproductions exported by Mainland Chinese makers having the ilk of eBay sellers and their foreign counterparts in other auction venues.

Perhaps I should bow out of this thread before I'm kicked out for on a charge of using it for a soap box. :)

Best regards,

Bill H.





Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Norman Fri, Apr 29, 2022

Hi Bill, thanks again. Please don't leave your soapbox yet on my account. We are fully in agreement that 'Qianlong' sealed porcelain sold on Ebay or Liveauctioneers are almost always suspect at best (just like early Japanese prints), and likely produced since 1970. I'm just trying to figure out if I can reasonably narrow down when my family's reproduced 'Qianlong-sealed' bowls were made- presumably between 1875 and 1949 based on your comments and the family history (other than me, nobody collected or bought antiques after my father-in-law's father passed away in the early 70's and he didn't have the means, or access to antiques, to buy after 1949).
Thanks for posting the Weishaupt 'After Hongxian' seal example you referenced in the earlier post. Not only is it red, but it has a 3 pronged 'trident' vs. 5. I've read in Gotheborg that red seals and 3-pronged 'tridents' are an indication of later reproductions, so how is that helpful in dating my piece with a blue 5 'trident' seal? Is it possible that my piece was produced in the late 19th century, or is it definitely early to mid 20th century? Or too difficult to tell without examining in person?
Many thanks for all the helpful comments so far.

Subject:Re: Multi-colored Bowls- Translation/Seal Identification requested
Posted By: Bill H Sat, Apr 30, 2022

Period Qianlong marks of six characters in seal script have mostly have five prongs on the Qing character while others have three prongs on marks in both underglaze blue and iron red palace porcelains. Blue and red marks of that reign also look to be a mix of these styles. Below is a page from the Taipei Palace Museum's 1986 "Catalog of the Special Exhibition of K'ang-xi Yung-cheng and Ch'ien-lung Porcelain Ware from the Ch'ing Dynasty in the National Palace Museum" showing examples.

Bill H.




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