Authentic Chinese Republican Vases and Porcelains 1912-1949
(Click to enlarge, click the image. To FULLY enlarge click the little "X" button in the upper RIGHT of picture to FULLY ENLARGE)
Looking At Republican Period Chinese Vases
Looking at and identifying Republican Period Chinese vases has always been difficult and a confusing issue.
Today it's made even more confusing by the plethora of reproduction of rare 18th and early 19th C. Qing porcelain flooding onto the market. These are often offered as or presented as being from the Republic period. These are in addition to the post-Republican pieces made in the 1950's onward of varying quality on the market. Now toss into the mix the modern FAKES of Republican pieces which have always confused some collectors.
The Three Types of Republican Fakes:
- High Qing and Ming Dynasty copies intended to deceive as either authentic period pieces or as Republican.
- Post-1950 porcelains which can look similar.
- Modern copies of Republic porcelains also meant to deceive.
A few things to remember about identifying Chinese Republic period porcelain vases (The better pieces)
During the Republican period, porcelain production plummeted massively in Jingdezhen. China's economy went into a black hole ending with the rise of Mao. As an obvious consequence do not expect to find many authentic good examples on the market.
During the Republic period high quality imperial looking Yongzheng, Qianlong, Jiaqing and Daouguang types were never commonly made and are very rare. In the rare instances where they were, the quality and elements can rarely be mistaken with their antecedents. We have included a few on the left in this article, enlarge them to FULL Screen to get a good look. The work could never be confused with 18th C. examples.
So, nearly all of these moon flasks, baluster vases, hu form vases etc. that look pretty good can be assumed pretty reliably to be fakes. In the late Qing and very earliest years of the Republic era a few were made, but very, very few.
The porcelain produced during the period often had it's own very distinctive style, unlike earlier Ming and Qing predecessors. Often the very best pieces were signed by the artists. The colouration remained sensitive and was harmonious one with the other. The colours used were always of a traditional nature, so be very wary of "hard" looking chromatic enamels and clumsy shading of tones.
The porcelain itself of good pieces was of generally excellent quality, fine snow white and well shaped. The foot rims of vases and bowls were typically neatly finished and thinly trimmed, with the glaze ending neatly just above the foot.
A few words on KANGXI copies
Finally, during the Republic period, basically, NO copies, convincing or otherwise of KANGXI porcelain were made. They were produced into the end of the QING dynasty, beyond that any convincing examples were not produced in numbers worth worrying about.
Look at a lot of examples
Lastly, look at a lot of known authentic examples from all periods whenever you can.
Be very careful of auction houses (other than Sotheby's, Bonhams, Christie's and Igavel they are all fine) who are presenting pieces claiming to be authentic from any period. Be especially worried about the source if they seem to have a bounty of what appear to be great rarities, with estimates of pennies on the dollar.
No experienced collector is going to consign volumes of RARE Chinese porcelains, paintings, bronzes or objects to auctioneers in rural markets when they can easily get into New York, London, Paris or Hong Kong.
Other resources for examining many of authentic porcelains visit our friend Alain R. Truong's Site
and the BidAmoount.com RESEARCH DESK of past auction catalogs, there are around 400 of them.
Thanks so much for visiting, I do hope you find this information, video and links useful.
Best Peter Combs