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Re: Re: Genuine archaic bronze or something else?

Posted By: Tim
Posted Date: Sep 20, 2017 (11:51 AM)

Hello Jonathan.

You provide a lot of points of view (thank you)...let me go point by point.

Your first point - So, it is certainly possible for someone to have gone to the trouble of reproducing the near identical composition of elements used to recreate a modern vessel with the same chemical composition as an ancient one. However, I just don't think such an investment of time/materials/technical knowledge would have been invested in this just don't think it is characteristic of the more valuable forms - Why make a fake of a unknown style?

Furthermore, the testing also included a visual inspection of the decomposition of the metal (I think the 2 photos I post show an electron microscopic image of the bronze surface). The surface and patina of the bronze shows the natural corrosion of the metal over hundreds of years...possibly thousands.
I have submitted other bronzes to Dr. B that turned out to be fakes, and chemically created patinas are easily identified.
So, it is not just the composition of the bronze that was taken into consideration, but it was a core component of the determination of the time of creation.

Your second point about other forms of testing being more reliable - I'm familiar with all three tests....I don't think they work on bronze unless there is a remnant of the clay mold used to create the vessel. Given your assertion that there are elaborate forgeries being made, someone could easily attach an ancient fragment of clay to the bronze, and the test would show positive for being archaic, so not much value in spending the money on that.
At the end of the day, authentication is almost always based upon forensic science, but that does not mean that collector's won't have contrary opinions on authenticity based upon stylistic design or quality of construction.

3rd - testing locations....Actually, Dr. B took samples from all parts of the vessel, including inner wall, mouth, exterior wall, and several spots on the base and foot. I just didn't have time to screen shoot the entire PDf and post photos to the Forum. All were consistent to being about 2000 yrs old, except for areas of repair that showed modern lead compounds.

4th....old lamps can be put on new vases. Agreed. But, I've bought probably 300 lamps in my time collecting...I've got a pretty good sense of what has been re-lamped, and what has not. Furthermore, I know the consignment store owner and had them call the consignor to see if she had more Asian items. We spoke by phone, but she had since moved into assisted living, so no more 'treasures'. However, she confirmed the lamp was in her family for as long as she could remember. Not a guarantee of anything, but I didn't get the feeling that the 80 something year old lady was part of a lamp swapping scam.

5th - Get outside opinions by other experts - Dr. B contacted some Chinese archaeologist college of his. The vessel shape and loop handles are fairly typical for Warring States and Han period, but the extensive dragon design is unusual. There are known examples with the dragon design, just not in this shape
...I'll look for some photos and post if possible. This is the reason why I posted on the Forum, too. It is natural that most response posts challenge the ascertains of the post's author....I completely understand the process.

6th - you don't need to be an expert to have an opinion....sometimes 'fresh eyes' see things that experts overlook. It happens more often than experts like to admit. I certainly hope for more response by collector's of Han dynasty bronzes.

Inscription - I don't have pics on this laptop. I have the vessel stored since I just moved. So, in a few days I'll unpack and take some new photos.

Meantime, Dr. B had forwarded these comments from his contact in China who viewed the inscriptions and photos of the vessel:

"This inscription is: state that this wine vessel(bronze ware) made (no date mentioned), in order to present to their predecessor. Their descendants can also use it generation by generation.
There were differences of these old Chinese in different parts of China before Qin dynasty. But it is important where this vessel might be unearthed. Based on this search, this types of inscription are usually seen in West Zhou Dynasty. The shape of this vessel looks like a Lei (罍) to me, which is an ancient urn-shaped wine-vessel. This type of vessel was once famous in the period from Shang dynasty to Zhou dynasty, possibly to the west and East Han dynasty (200AD)."

It was the comment 'it is important where this vessel might be unearthed' that made me consider having the lead isotopes tested to determine which lead mine was the source. However, I don't think the vessel is of much historical value and its condition is not so great, either. So, I've just kind of hung on to the piece as a keepsake.

Actually, the fact that this post resurfaced was a big surprise...I've been really busy with other matters and have not had much time to participate or even read what has been going on lately on the AsianArtForum. This has been a really pleasant distraction from my other responsibilities.

Thank you!

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