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Xuande marked flask with Iron spots
Xuande marked flask (but don’t think the foot is correct).
So I have a flask, purchased recently from good ole eBay, as I liked it.
Anyway, I had noticed from the photos what looked to be Iron spots, so looked online at the reasons why they occur and how they should look, the ones on this flask seem to look genuine?
Also on receipt (arrived in rather large nappy, slightly bizarre yet very effective packaging :), but I looked closely over the glaze with my loupe and can see the bubble composition. Again I researched this and found the paper published at Harvard on ‘Bubble signature in antique porcelain’ or thereabouts, anyway, the composition of the bubbles (as described by a friend, “water on glass”) seems to resemble the examples from the Wanli period, however I must stress I’m no expert, but do love antiques and the research that comes with them.
In addition, I know it has been confirmed that they can reproduce the ‘bubbles’ using regulated gas kilns? However for a paper to be published at Harvard by a recognised scientist, must have been accurate?
I then started thinking about the seller and where this came from, on the basis this had Iron spots and the bubble density was consistent with the aforementioned paper. They confirmed they purchased it from a yard sale a few years ago. They live in Southold NY, it has a population of 22,000 as of 2010 and was founded in 1640 by an English pastor. The seller also suggested they may have brought it either in their local area, or “out west, in Orient”, population 800 and as with Southold, family names that date back to the founders of the communities. So they purchased it a few years ago (2017), was the paper on bubble signature accurate do you know? If so, by rule of probability, if it couldn’t be faked in 2016, then the item must be antique (along with the Iron Spots and Bubbles)?
Maybe I’m just still that teenage kid deep inside that wants to find a treasure of an antique. I love how antique items have effectively been held and touched for centuries.
love the field and really appreciate everyone’s time for reading this and would appreciate everyone’s input? And to aid me in understanding Chinese Porcelain.
I Thank You!
Measurements are: 24cm H x 17cm wide (shoulder to shoulder) x 9cm D.
Firstly welcome to this great forum.
While I am by no means an expert on Xuande period porcelain. My interest at this time is with republican period porcelain and jades.
I agree with your sentiment regarding Iron rust and bubbles. They can and are being copied today and have been for some time. Based on what I can observe by way of your pictures the bubbles and the so-called rust spots are man made and not genuine.
Rather than concentrate on bubbles/other one should firstly examine the said piece overall look. Is it right for the period? Is the shape correct for the period or is it a fanciful/unknown piece? Are the motifs correct for said period? Or perhaps done later with sloppy work etc. The list goes on and on.
Based on what I can observe the motifs are not correct for the period. They are not harmonious. They are stiff and painted with a degree of haste and lack of skill. In other words very sloppy.
The peacock sadly is a joke. Looks like it was painted by a child. The seal mark on the base is also stiff and painted without skill or ease.
The overall glaze of your item appears to be that of a sugary-white consistent with modern day kilns. The glaze has no apparent natural weathering marks. Looks rather new imo.
In another post by Stuart @ming1499 he posted (a large guan) today a superb restored ming jar. If you carefully examine his jar you will quickly see the difference in quality and style. One is clearly genuine the other is not.
May I suggest if I may that if you have interested in these types of wares or other for that matter that you gain some experience through reference books, museums and of course major auctions like sotheby's and christies. Peter has on YouTube some fantastic videos that I would highly recommend you watch, study and learn. A friend who is sufficient in said would not go astray.
It takes thousands of hours of study just to gain the basic ground work skill needed. It's all about trial and error. It's a great learning experience and you should be able to quickly learn the basics of collecting chinese porcelain/other.
I would not start buying especially on eBay said wares without some sort of basic research and knowledge about styles/other. Leave rust and bubbles alone until you have mastered the basics first.
Without said knowledge you will only end up with a lot of worthless fakes.
Ebay and second-tier auction rooms are awash with fakes including basic run of the mill copies coupled with some higher quality reproductions.
a strong suggestion: forget, really forget, things like bubbles and other technical details. Ask to a big expert if, when he dated an important ancient item, he did consider bubbles. He will answer "bubbles? Why should I have considered the bubbles?".
All what you need is educate your eye to the whole piece; in particular, painting style and shape.
I really thank you for all of your responses and agree I should be looking at all the factors as advised by Mark and I did exactly this before adding this post.
With regard to the shape of the flask, is it correct for this period?, Yes, there are examples of this flattened flask, also it has been referenced in books as being a design associated closely to Islamic metalwork which I believe were copied in design to porcelain during the Yuan period.
I’m not trying to say, I’m right and you’re wrong, not at all. Just that I have looked at this in detail and researched as you have recommended here. I have only used the big auctioneers (Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonhams and Chait) as a guide due to the fakes in the market and as you have said, this is either new or 20th century. However I think there should be an appreciation that articles made in the 15th century weren’t all elegantly designed and according to the information provided by Brittanica, the items were mainly produced by Men (I’m sure those that worked in the Imperial Kilns were the best of the best, especially at that time), however it is a fact they were churning out substantial quantities Of porcelain and not every example would have been made with such eloquence, as shown by the artistry of the below item.
My flask however, this is obviously not old and I do take on board exactly as you’ve said.
This cost me near nothing, I like it and it will look nice on a shelf.
If I have come across unappreciative of your comments and experience then please accept my sincerest apologies, it was not my intention. Just that there are examples of poorly decorated Ming wares that have been sold by these top auction houses.
I will keep my money in my pocket (with the exception of books for research) and really appreciate everyone’s help with this and for taking the time to write your responses.Lesson learnt, luckily not for much of a cost either. I’m sure others have been ‘duped’ over much more than what I paid.
I’d like to wish you all a great weekend and happy hunting :).
Hi Tim - and welcome to this wonderful forum ...
For comparison:- the attached images are of a Yuan dynasty flask, H. 36.3 cm, Length. 26.3 cm, Width 9.6 cm, decorated with a Qilin and phoenix amongst lotuses, and peacocks amongst peonies, from the National Museum of Iran. Noticed the great differences in the painting styles between this flask and your piece, and also the overall proportions, especially the size and shape of the handles.
The Imperial kilns of the Yongle and Xuande periods did indeed produce copies of many Islamic metalware shapes, but this flask shape is unknown on such wares ...
Mark, Xin and Giovanni have given you some excellent advice ...
I really do appreciate your above message and am taking all of this information on board.
When I purchased the flask, I had no idea at that time with regards to Chinese Porcelain and have since, and more importantly since reading everyone’s responses here, started to see what everyone else here is seeing. The peacocks, although similar to other peacocks from a complete zero knowledge point of view, could be seen as similar, however very clearly they’re not.
The example you’ve given above is actually what was the first examples I found. I only really pursued this as an antique based upon the article on ‘bubble signatures’, published in Physics Weekly & Harvard. As both are respectable publishers. However... ‘the penny has dropped’ and I’m so much better off with the information everyone has and are continuing to provided here, I’m sure this will not only aid myself in avoiding purchasing loads of fakes to hopefully progressing in my understanding of the numerous factors that make up an assessment of Antique Chinese Porcelain.
As I have said before, greatly appreciate you taking the time to show these on here and to provide some of yours and the rest of the Bidamount communities huge wealth of experience of this field.
Alas, eBay may not be the place to purchase Chinese porcelain, so will stick with the car boot sales here in the UK and keep my eyes peeled, as they will be extremely inexpensive.
Thank you all once again! It really is a true community spirit here, so greatly appreciate your time.
Hi Tim -
Attached images of the other flask in the National Museum of Iran, H. 38 cm, L. 28 cm, W. 9 cm, with decorated with peacocks amongst peonies, the top with scrolling chrysanthemums framed by cloud collars. The neck and handles have been restored. The base image included for comparison to your piece ...
The overall composition on this flask was used by the copyists who decorated your piece ...
My apologies, this was the flask I originally meet to post for comparison ...
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