‘Flower Balls’ on C19th and C20th Chinese porcelain (花球 Huā qiú)

CompSingle 1A    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 2B    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…

 

‘Flower Balls’ are a highly varied pattern, and at first glance some of the examples don’t seem to have anything in common. However, once you zoom into these gorgeous circular medallions, a whole new world opens up. Whilst some are simply geometric or flower based designs, others show dragons, roosters, landscapes and all sorts of other goodies, all bundled into a circular medallion shape.

CompSingle 3C    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…

 

The pattern has changed through the centuries with Qianlong examples, a range of 19th century forms, and then a classic keyfret bordered design through Guangxu, the Republic and early PROC.

CompSingle 4D    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 5E   A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 6F   A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 7G    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 8H   A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 9I    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 10J   A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 11K    A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…
CompSingle 12L   A series of individual Flower Balls, from a range of time periods…

 

The twelve mixed flower ball series above have been taken from actual pieces shown below. I am hoping that by the end of this report you might be able to date each single one a little better!

All the examples below are shown in ‘like’ groupings, in a roughly chronological sequence.

 

YONGZHENG

Starting with a Yongzheng example from Sotheby’s, showing doucai enamels of underglaze blue and overglaze enamels of red, green, yellow and aubergine. This combination continued through to the 19th century and has been produced again in the late C20th and to the present day (these latter being copies as they have Yongzheng, Qianlong or Daoguang marks):-

 

1_Sothebys_39_0101 Yongzheng doucai bowls, Sotheby’s

 

2_Sothebys_96_0102 Yongzheng bowl, Sotheby’s

 

 

QIANLONG

A Qianlong example, also from Sotheby’s, shows the continuation of pinks into the enamels, and perhaps even some overglaze blue:-

 

3_Sothebys_65_0503

 

4_Sothebys_38_0204

 

5_Sothebys_12_0105 Qianlong brushpot with flower balls on a feathered gilt ground, Sotheby’s

 

 

JIAQING

A Jiaqing Sotheby’s example adds black enamels and some new textures, no underglaze blue on this one:-

 

6_Sothebys_78_0106

 

A rarer form of the Jiaqing mark can be found on some doucai examples:-

7_BR0200_107

 

8_BR0160_208

 

 

 

DAOGUANG

 

9_Christies_104_0309 Daoguang teabowl, Christies

 

10_Sothebys_96_0210 Faux bois ground with interesting large flower balls, Shendetang Zhi mark, Sotheby’s

 

 

11_Sothebys_96_0411 Daoguang bowl, showing a few balls with patterns of gourds, etc rather than just geometric flowers, Sotheby’s

 

 

12_Sothebys_96_0612 Daoguang bowl, showing a few balls with peaches & bats, etc rather than just geometric flowers, Sotheby’s

 

 

13_Christies_118_0113 Daoguang dish, just geometric flower balls, Sotheby’s

 

 

19th CENTURY

During the 19th century a number of geometric flower ball examples with underglaze blue Qianlong or other mid Qing marks appeared, all with a medium-dark dull blue sgraffito background (some have argued that these might be mark & period, but I don’t think so… happy to hear another view though) :-

 

14_BR0064_314

 

 

15_BR0087_115

 

 

16_BR0141_216

 

 

17_BR0406_117

 

 

18_BR0586_118

 

 

19_BR0592_119

 

 

20_BR0609_220

 

 

21_BR0850_121

 

 

22_BR0850_222

 

 

23_BR_MR55_037023

 

 

 

An uncommon duo with underglaze blue and white scroll or diaper background and pink based flower balls, C19th:-

24_BR0029_224

 

 

25_BR0066_325

 

Most of the previous examples show flower balls as quite simple geometric and radial representations of flowers or petals.

However, by the Late Qing period, a new set of ‘flower balls’ starts to make an appearance. These include circular medallion representations of roosters, peaches, plants, diamonds and other new forms.

Examples of this new addition of flower balls usually have a white ground and are often intermixed with ‘one hundred antiques’ elements. Most have no marks, late 19th century in the main:-

26_BR0297_326 Wash basin with figures and flower balls, late Qing

 

 

27_BR0302_127 Charger with flower balls and buddhist emblems, ruyi border, iron red bamboo sprays on back, late Qing

 

 

28_BR0572_328 Porcelain pillow with flower balls, bats, buddhist emblems & ‘100 antiques’, keyfret border, late Qing

 

 

29_BR0608_429 Blue ground vase with multiple borders, figures and flowers in cartouche and flower balls & sanduo fruits over the ground, late Qing

 

 

30_BR0895_230 ’One Hundred Antique’s vases including flower balls, turquoise interior and base, no mark

 

 

31_BR0741_331 Beautiful bright yellow ground narcissus trays with vases of flowers, fruit, vegetables and flower balls

 

 

32_BR0892_632 Platter with flower balls, ruyi border, central sanduo medallion, no mark

 

 

33_BR0926_133 Platter with ‘One Hundred Antiques’, flower balls, key fret and floral scroll border, no mark

 

 

34_BR0927_134 Lidded jar with ‘One Hundred Antiques’, flower balls, ruyi and key fret borders, no mark

 

 

‘TONGZHI’ MARKED, Late C19th-Early C20th

A relatively common group are the footed bowls and dishes of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Most have an interesting variety of stamped or handwritten Tongzhi marks, but other marks do occur – some may be of the period (Tongzhi), but most are probably late Guangxu to early Republic. In this group the subject matter of the balls becomes even more varied with grapes, stylised waves, bats & clouds, natural lotus flowers, gourds, pomegranates and all manner of intricacies – see how many new ones you can find!

On the other hand, some of the flower balls hark back to their early C19th predecessors. The quality and detail of the flower balls varies considerably, as does the variety of the borders:-

 

35_BR_MR48_033135

 

36_BR_MR57_038236

 

37_BR_MR61_040837

 

38_BR_MR65_043538

 

39_BR_MR82_055039

 

40_BR0017_640

 

41_BR0019_141

 

42_BR0033_142

 

43_BR0090_543

 

44_BR0120_644

 

45_BR0141_145

 

46_BR0168_246 See similar Guangxu celadon ground example below (next section)

 

47_BR0216_547

 

 

48_BR0232_548  See similar examples in terms of enamel colour, but with Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi marks, in sections below, Republic

 

49_BR0417_749  Rare and beautiful coral ground, ribbed lidded bowl and stand

 

50_BR0559_350

 

51_BR0684_251

 

52_BR0784_352

 

53_BR0846_253

 

54_BR0868_354

 

55_BR0893_455

 

56_BR0895_656

 

57_BR0896_257

 

58_BR0924_458

 

59_BR0937_159

 

60_BR0942_660

 

 

61_BR0795_361

 

62_BR0812_562

 

63_BR0853_463

 

64_BR0858_264

 

65_BR0902_165

 

 

 

GUANGXU  marked pieces: –

 

66_BR0368_366 This plate has an intricate geometric border and soft intricate flower balls, Guangxu mark and period

 

67_BR0213_767 Dragon medallion in centre of the plate, above, soft floral balls, phoenix balls, bats, insects. The background within the balls has a stippled pattern, which is very beautiful. Guangxu mark and period

 

68_BR0285_668 Celadon ground plate with underglaze blue mark, Guangxu Guan Yao (Guangxu Imperial kiln). Mixed lot of ‘flower balls’, including goldfish, cranes and spirals

 

69_Christies_105_0169 Christies, underglaze blue Guangxu mark & period, high level enamelling

 

70_Sothebys_5_0170 Sotheby’s large lidded box, Guangxu, but the mark “ground and barely visible”

 

71_Sothebys_33_0471 Sotheby’s, Guangxu mark and period dish

 

71a_Sothebys_58_0271a Sotheby’s, Guangxu mark and period, muddy yet bright enamels, may not be of the period IMO

 

72_Sothebys_78_0272 Sotheby’s, Guangxu mark and period, huge variety of birds in the flower balls

 

73_Sothebys_96_0373 The blue ground with gilt flower balls variation, also found on earlier examples back to at least Qianlong times, Guangxu mark & period, Sotheby’s

 

74_BR0029_674 Birdfeeders with Guangxu mark

 

 

LATE QING TO EARLY REPUBLIC examples:

 

 

75_BR0194_275 Beautiful yellow ground plate with a Qianlong seal mark

 

 

76_Sothebys_96_0576 Jar with underglaze blue and copper red flower balls, with sculpted qilong, ruyi , key fret and lappet borders, late C19th, Sotheby’s

 

 

Sgraffito ground examples:

 

 

77_BR_MR158_103577 This interesting set of cups and saucers has a sgraffito ground and ‘millefleur’ type flower balls. The cups have Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi (Jiangxi Porcelain Company) marks but the matching saucers have handwritten red Guangxu marks. Clearly made by the JPC, which affixed Guangxu marks as well! I have seen this doubling up on other patterns as well, 1910s/20s dating

 

78_BR_MR158_103778 See caption above

 

79_BR_MR159_103879 See caption above

 

80_BR_MR183_119580 Another example of this yellow sgraffito and millefleur type flower ball sub-pattern. This time with a ‘ Jiangxi Dong Hui Ci Pin’ mark, 1910/20s

 

81_Sothebys_61_0181 A vase with a Jurentang mark and this pattern subset, Sothebys, after 1916, so similar dating to the ones above

 

82_BR0747_282 This sgraffito variant has the more ‘normal’ range of flower balls, Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi mark, 1910s/20s

 

83_BR0300_283

 

84_BR0008_684 Lovely teabowl with all the bells and whistles, handwritten Guangxu mark within double underglaze blue circles, early C20th

 

85_BR_MR120_077185 This blue sgraffito teabowl even has a landscape ‘ball’, the only one I have seen so far! Handwritten Qianlong mark, Republic

 

86_BR_MR177_115686 Rare pink ground bowl, but the flower balls could be more detailed…Republic

 

87_BR0493_387 This blue ground sgraffito plate with flower balls is Republic period (as is the yellow one below). The colour of the blue ground and the nature of the flower ball decoration is different from the darker blue ground examples in the section above, which are dated to the mid-late Qing

 

88_BR_MR151_099588  Another yellow sgraffito pattern, but the yellow is lighter and brighter, has cartouche with flowers & butterflies, stamped Qianlong (in 2 rows rather 2 columns) mark plus ‘CHINA’, Republic period

 

 

More GUANGXU MARKS, distinct pattern:-

One of the most common flower ball combinations shows a combination of multi-coloured key fret border on a white ground with an array of brightly coloured balls. The quality varies quite a bit, and the Guangxu 6 character kaishu marks are either stamped, or are handwritten by a very unique and different calligraphic hand. I am not sure of the dating of these examples, but assume for now that the handwritten ones are mark & period, and the stamped ones are mostly Republic period. Stamped Qianlong ones are also Republic period or early PROC:

First lot: Guangxu, handwritten marks in a distinctive style (using a very thin brush line and somewhat elongated) – note also the use of a multi-coloured spoke basal border. Even more new elements inhabit the flower balls – goldfish, dragons, cranes, butterflies and narcissus flowers, good quality painting:-

 

 

89_BR_MR22_016089

 

90_BR_MR71_047290

 

91_BR_MR101_065091

 

92_BR_MR154_101292

 

Guangxu M&P93

 

93a_BR0248_493a

 

94_BR0283_594

 

95_BR0670_595

 

96_BR0923_196

 

 

…and a few more standard handwritten Guangxu marks, otherwise similar to those above. However, in some at least, the quality of decoration is not so good.

 

 

97_BR0028_197

 

98_BR0179_298

 

99_BR0179_399

 

100_BR_MR22_0161100

 

101_BR_MR52_0355101

 

102_BR0248_4102

 

103_BR0296_7103

 

104_BR0372_5104

 

105_BR0372_6105

 

106_BR0378_3106

 

107_BR0793_1107

 

108_BR0793_3108 This last one has a ruyi upper border, a lappet basal border, and a stippled background to the flower balls

 

 

REPUBLIC – Mid C20th

Stamped Guangxu and Qianlong marked examples from the Republic and early PROC, average quality in general, still quite delightful:-

 

109_BR_MR34_0249109

 

110_BR_MR36_0263110

 

111_BR_MR38_0271111

 

112_BR_MR38_0274a112

 

113_BR_MR38_0274c113

 

114_BR_MR38_0274d114

 

115_BR_MR47_0324115

 

116_BR_MR58_0388116

 

117_BR_MR172_1123117 Note the stippled background on the flower balls above, usually found on older examples, but adds an extra dimension to the pattern. Handwritten Qianlong mark

 

118_BR_MR172_1124118

 

119_BR0190_1119  Complete Tea Set with the flower ball pattern, Qianlong mark, late Republic/early PRC

 

120_BR0206_3120

 

121_BR0215_1121

 

122_BR0504_2122

 

 

 

123_BR0732_5123

 

124_BR0378_5124

 

125_BR0438_7125

 

126_BR0745_1126

 

127_BR0768_4127

 

128_BR0794_3128

 

129_BR0826_1129

 

130_BR0831_5130

 

131_BR0880_10131

 

132_BR0925_1132

 

 

Other marks, most are Republic period, some earliest PRC:-

 

133_BR_MR78_0520133  Late Qing/Republic little thick dish, handwritten ‘CHINA’ mark in black

 

134_BR0347_5134  Late Republic lidded mug with spoon or toothbrush holder, private company mark

 

135_BR0505_5135  Late Republic teapot, private company mark in a diamond outline

 

136_BR0882_1136  Late Republic, early 1950s oval platter with detailed flower balls and flower slips on a turquoise ground, private company circle mark

 

137_BR0753_2137  Mid C20th vase, ‘CHINA’ mark

 

138_BR0135_4138  Rare Cong vase with flower slips and some flower balls, mid C20th

 

139_BR0355_1139 Jiangxi / Min Zheng Xing / Chu Pin – “Jiangxi Province / Min Zheng Xing (name) / Products”. Nanchang. Second quarter of 20th c. before 1949. This mark was used by Mr. Min Zheng Xing – (name) in his porcelain shop in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. At this time the Wa Lee Factory was still in Nanchang. In 1947 the Wa Lee Factory moved to Canton “near the end of the Yi De Road” and in 1949 moved on to Hong Kong. Meanwhile Min Zheng Xing remained in Jiangxi. Around 1951 to 1952 Min Zheng Xing “who also was an accomplished porcelain painter” travelled to HK once, trying to sell his Nanchang factory porcelains. Mr. Kung “treated him and took him around, but with little success since the times were difficult in HK too”. (Source: Simon Ng interview w Mr Kung, HK 2001. www.gotheborg.com)  NOTE the gold outlines on all the flower balls

 

140_BR0772_3140  This dish and the one below have stamped ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ marks. Quite unique, with these ‘ dirty ‘ colours. Nonetheless, authentic for a mid-Republic dating

 

141_BR_MR66_0439141  See caption above

 

142_BR0837_5142  Nanchang Xin Zhong Hua cup & saucer (the Jiangxi characters indicate an early 1950s dating; before 1949 ‘Nanchang’ characters were used rather than  ‘Jiangxi’ ones)

 

143_BR0937_7143  Jiujiang company set with rich turquoise ground, note scalloped edge on plate, Late Republic

 

There is also a subset of flower balls which are be-ribboned, and are accompanied by Chinese lions or even dragons. They are mentioned for completeness here, but I am only showing a few examples. This is a separate pattern as far as I am concerned.

 

144_BR0584_5144  Late Qing, yellow ground footed dish with Chinese lions and a be-ribboned flower ball, handwritten Tongzhi 5 character mark
145_BR0739_1145  Republic period yellow ground bowl with chinese lions and beribboned flower balls, multi-coloured key fret border, stamped Qianlong mark
146_DPExBR_028_3146  Republic period plate with dragon and flower balls, multi-coloured key fret border, stamped Guangxu mark

 

 

That’s all folks! Yet another Chinese porcelain pattern outlined for your convenience, all comments, corrections etc welcome,

Now you can scroll back to the beginning and see if you can date the individual flower balls…..

Michaela`

 

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JIANGXI PORCELAIN COMPANY(江西瓷业公司) – Part 1 – The Early Years (一开始)

1. Introduction

It is often said the Jiangxi Porcelain Company of the early 20th century replaced the Imperial kilns, making porcelains for the court in the last years of the Qing Dynasty. Certainly, the company used the kilns on Zhushan (referred to as Pearl Mountain by westerners at the time) which had previously housed the Imperial Kilns. But what was really the case?

It is also often reported that the Jiangxi Porcelain Company was set up in 1910, but the story of its beginnings is much more complicated. Years ago, it was claimed that the Jiangxi Porcelain closed in 1934, then it was said to be 1949. What really happened?

The Jiangxi Porcelain Company (JPC) or Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi is the most well-known Chinese porcelain company of the first half of the 20th century. It is also one of the most prolific, most globally disseminated and, for the last 15 years or so, replicated. Knowledge about the origins of the company from bureaucratic archival sources has been written up by a few westerners and, more recently and more comprehensively, on Chinese museum and other websites. The Chinese websites are now translatable and understandable in English as software has improved. In addition, results of archaeological excavations carried out around 2003 on Zhushan in Jingdezhen are now available to the ‘public’ and have further elucidated or confirmed dates and chronologies regarding the company and its products.

In addition, some individuals have concentrated their collections on products from Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi and one such collection has been published, providing a large number of authentic examples:

  • Late Qing Dynasty porcelain: Jiangxi Porcelain Company  2012 ISBN 978-7-5480-1549-9 233pp by Lai Dayi,  Jiangxi Fine Arts Publishing House

This report will summarise this data and will also look at some of the earlier porcelains from this company, to show their links with dynastic wares and then (in later reports) to show how they moved away from those ‘old’ patterns and constraints into more innovative, experimental and daring works.

However, when looking at all the Jiangsi Ciye Gongsi porcelains over its 50 year existence, especially after these ‘early years’, the most remarkable observation about JPC porcelains is their diversity of pattern and shape,  and their ubiquity, and in some instances even their surprising ordinariness.


THIS REPORT CAN BE ‘READ’ IN TWO WAYS –  Either SCROLL THROUGH THE IMAGES of the marks and examples, reading the captions to get a general idea of what is what.  Or, I’m sure that if you own a piece of ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ porcelain or would like to, you will gain a lot from reading right through, even if just in sections.


THIS REPORT WILL ALSO COME IN TWO INSTALLMENTS, AS OUTLINED IN THE contents below

CONTENTS

PART 1: THE EARLY YEARS – THIS REPORT

  1. Introduction (above)
  2. Base marks on Jiangxi Porcelain Company (Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi 江西瓷业公司) examples
  3. Origins of the Jiangxi Porcelain Company (Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi 江西瓷业公司)

              3a.          Before 1902

              3b.          1902/03 – 1908

              3c.          1908 – 1910/1911

              3d.          After 1910, Introduction only

  1. Jiangxi Porcelain Company – Examples from the Early Years, 1908- c.1911

PART 2:  THE INNOVATIVE  YEARS – 1910-Mid 1930S – NEXT REPORT TO COME

PART 3:  THE POST WAR  YEARS – 1945 onwards  – NEXT REPORT TO COME

PART 4:  RECENT COPIES & marks – NEXT REPORT TO COME

2. Basemarks on Jiangxi Porcelain Company pieces 

There are a great many base marks on Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi porcelains, reflecting a dating and quality hierarchy, and also a shape and decoration type.

Some, if authentic, indicate an early dating – these are the handwritten underglaze blue in 2 columns (like a reign mark) or in 2 rows but with double underglaze blue circles – see 2a. below

Others indicate a later dating, towards the end of the Republic Period – these are the stamped overglaze blue marks – see 2g. below

Yet others, by themselves, do not appear to have a clear date range – underglaze blue without double circles, red handwritten, and red stamped.

Below is a list of all the ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ mark types that I have been able to find. There may well be more to add in the future. Of course, these are broad types and do not take into consideration all the different forms of calligraphy or stamps. You will see all the different actual marks in the examples shown at the end of this part of the report, and at the end of all the other parts as well.

It should be noted that the most common mark is an underglaze blue with no double circle, followed very closely by the overglaze red stamped marks, (handwritten ones are a bit less common). A few of the marks are very rare, with only one or two examples found so far.

This first ‘early years’ part of this report will concentrate on examples with the first two marks below…….

2a. Underglaze Blue marks, all handwritten

  • 2a.1 -Two columns, (6 characters, first three in right column ‘Jiang Xi Ci’, then last three in left column ‘Ye Gong Si’),  much like how a reign mark is written. These marks are rare.

318_5a       318_5b

  • 2a.2 -Three columns, (same 6 characters, right column ‘Jiang Xi’, middle column ‘Ci Ye’, left column ‘Gong Si’), much like how all 6 character company marks are written in the Republic Period. In addition, double underglaze blue circles surround the mark. Uncommon mark.

589aMR   589bMR

  • 2a.3 – As above, but no double circle surround. Three columns, (same 6 characters, right column ‘Jiang Xi’, middle column ‘Ci Ye’, left column ‘Gong Si’), much like how all 6 character company marks are written in the Republic Period. Common mark, usually on good quality examples, distinctive forms of calligraphy on most pieces.

1011MR      1035MR

  • 2a.4 -Ten character mark, two columns, ‘Zhong Hua Ming Guo Jiang’ in right column, ‘Xi Ci Ye Gong Si’ in left column. From Jiangxi Porcelain Company book, p64, see bibliography. Only these two examples are known so far.

JPC_DBC_10_3     Artron 51_6

  • 2a.5 – This must be a ‘one of a kind’ – on a teabowl set or gaiwan, with ‘Jiang Xi Ci Ye’ on the base of the bowl , and ‘Gong Si’ in the top recess of the cover, p 209 JPC book

JPCB_1_2

2b. Overglaze red marks, Handwritten

  • 2b.1 – Two columns, (6 characters, first three in right column ‘Jiang Xi Ci’, then last three in left column ‘Ye Gong Si’),  much like how a reign mark is written. Rare mark, only a couple seen.

0025a_1    0025b_1

  • 2b.2 – Three columns, (same 6 characters, right column ‘Jiang Xi’, middle column ‘Ci Ye’, left column ‘Gong Si’), much like how all 6 character company marks are written in the Republic Period. Surprisingly uncommon mark.

254_6a    254_6b

  • 2b.3 – Two rows, top row ‘Jiang Xi’ (characters left to right), bottom row ‘Ci Ye Gong Si’ (characters left to right). Very rare mark, dated to the 1930s but possibly mark added later ……

305_5

2c. Overglaze red marks, Stamped 

  • 2c.1 – Three columns, (same 6 characters, right column ‘Jiang Xi’, middle column ‘Ci Ye’, left column ‘Gong Si’), much like how all 6 character company marks are written in the Republic Period. Common mark.

838_1    940_6

  • 2c.2 – Two columns ‘Jiang Xi Ci’ in right, ‘Yi Gong Si’ in left, within a double square , very rare, just these two so far.

Artron 40_1    JPCB_55m

  • 2c.3 – Oval Outline ‘Changsha Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi ??? ‘ – only this one example, on a piece with a carved pattern of Guangxu dating.

Artron 16_3

  • 2c.4 – Diamond outline ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi Chu Pin’, rare, just this one so far.

Artron 10_4

  • 2c.5 – Stamped circle mark ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi Chu Pin’ in 3 sections, quite common on carmine enamelled, dragon graviata pieces, almost as if the factory/manufacturer was just making this pattern.

265_3  Late 1940s/early 1950s mark

  • 2c.6 – Stamped circle mark ‘Jiangxi Jingdezhen Ciye Gongsi’, very rare, just this one, but could be much more common within China.

788_1  Post 1949 mark

2d. Overglaze Blue, teal blue, handwritten – this marks occurs quite rarely, mainly on pieces showing a ‘dynastic’ or old style pattern, i.e. early in C20th

136_2    184_4

2e. Overglaze Blue, bright blue, handwritten – not a very common mark

387_2    489_4

674_4

2f. Overglaze blue, teal, Stamped   – Rare mark

715_2

2g. Overglaze Blue, bright blue, Stampedvery common mark, especially on 1940s- earliest 1950s pieces – the mark quality is often extremely poor

722_1    592_2

628_6    632_6

2h. Black, handwritten, within inscription, no basemark

BlackMrkJPCbookp78

3.Origins of the Jiangxi Porcelain Company (Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi 西公司)

3a.      Before 1902

The idea of a Jingdezhen or Jiangxi Porcelain Company had been around since the turn of the century. The idea of a porcelain manufacturer which would be technologically innovative and bring Jingdezhen porcelain back into viable competition with its more successful foreign porcelain producers had been around for even longer, back into the late 19th century. Jingdezhen was still recovering in part from the destruction of the Imperial kilns during the 1860s (Tongzhi) period but also it had suffered from:-

  • the general lack of interest and infrastructure in the last decades of the Qing Dynasty;
  • from flood damage (the Chang River flows right through the town and often destroyed markets and kilns);
  • from a series of rebellions throughout Jiangxi;
  • and, from the introduction of the ‘Likin’ tax on porcelain. The ‘Likin’ tax was originally introduced during the 1850s to provide the government with monies for their military operations in order to put down the rebellions. It was consumption based and was calculated at customs barriers such as the trading town of Jiujiang. It also increased over time such that it became a significant disincentive: for instance, trade from Jingdezhen to Canton dropped almost 50% from 1903 to 1904, as the traders went out of business . Foreign competitors were not taxed nearly so harshly (Michael Dillon PhD thesis 1976). Something needed to be done. 

3b.      1902/03 – 1908

In 1902 the Governor of Jiangxi, Ke Fengshi, proposed to the Qing Court that a porcelain company be set up in Jingdezhen to produce fine porcelain to compete with foreign imports. Porcelain from Europe and Japan was eroding Jingdezhen global exports and even outdoing Jingdezhen manufacture and sales within China. Jingdezhen still had the best clays and labour costs but the foreign competitors had better kiln technology and distribution networks & costs. The proposed name was Jingdezhen Porcelain Company. Ke Fengshi outlined what funds would be required and how the company would work. In the end, a small sum of 50,000 yuan was apparently given but this was not sufficient to get the company into production. Several further attempts were made over the next few years, kilns and labour found in Jingdezhen, but finances could not be secured to make an ongoing enterprise.

3c.      1908 – 1910/1911

In 1907/1908 Li Jiade and Zeng Zhu also suggested to the government that ‘Jingdezhen Porcelain Company’ should be changed to ‘Jiangxi Porcelain Company’ and a joint government/private business model was put forward.  This was approved and Sun Tinglin of Hubei was put in charge to re-establish the kilns on the north side of Zhushan. This first attempt used the old production methods and there was little difference between the pattern ornamentation and the Guangxu Guanyao, i.e patterns from previous centuries, except that the basemarks were different. However, a continuing lack of funds still hindered its progress. Nonetheless, it would appear that some porcelains were made. Although there is no paper trail or extant governmental evidence in the records, archaeological excavations carried out in 2002/2003 have provided some clues.

Archaeological Excavations and evidence

In 2002/2003 the Jingdezhen Ceramic Archaeological Institute and other associated government bodies did some excavations around the kilns on the northern side of Zhushan. Essentially the results prove that Jiangxi Porcelain Company production of porcelains occurred as early as the 34th year of Guangxu or 1908. There is, as yet, no definitive proof of Jiangxi Porcelain Company porcelain production before that time.

I quote from this report – Thoughts Aroused by Ke Fengshi’s “Development of Jiangxi Porcelain Company”  –  Analysis of Several Problems of Jiangxi Porcelain Company

2012-04-16   Xiang Kunpeng   “National Museum of China”, No. 4, 2012

http://www.chnmuseum.cn/tabid/438/InfoID/80911/frtid/283/Default.aspx

”….. it can be seen that from the 29th year of Guangxu(1903), Jiangxi Ceramic Co., Ltd. had a lot of twists and turns since its preparation, but by the time of Guangxu thirty-four years, during this period, Jiangxi porcelain company had have production” …” If the occurrence of production behavior is used as a standard, it can be said that Guangxu’s Jiangxi porcelain company was established before the 34th year of Guangxu (between 29 and 34 years of Guangxu).”  – i.e between 1903 and 1908.

The author goes on to say that the paper evidence for this has not yet been established for these claims, only the actual porcelains on Zhushan.

 3d.      After 1910

In 1910 another attempt was more comprehensive and long lasting. Three businessmen, Zhang Jizhi, Yuan Qiuji and Rui Junhua, in collaboration with five provinces, Fujian, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu and Jiangxi, established the ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ that we know of today.

After 1910, with the official, integrated and substantial establishment of the Jiangxi Porcelain Company, ‘new’ patterns, new technologies, new production plants at both Poyang (Raozhou) and Jingdezhen, and the establishment of teaching schools at Poyang (Raozhou), the innovative side of Jiangxi Porcelain Company could finally emerge. The dynastic porcelain prototypes were quite quickly thrown off and the hiring of master painters such as those from the Eight Friends of Zhushan led to the flourishing of experimental and ‘modern’ patterns and techniques.  This period will be the subject of a forthcoming part of this report, stay tuned.

4.Jiangxi Porcelain Company – Some examples from the Early Years, 1908-1911

So, the question is, what was produced in these early years of the Jiangxi Porcelain Company? Was anything made in the period 1902-1908? If so, what and does any still exist? What was made in the first real known production of the JPC in the years 1908-1910? What does it look like?

Did the Jiangxi Porcelain Company make the porcelain for the Imperial Court in the last year of the Guangxu reign and the during the Xuantong reign until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911?

Author Xiang Kunpeng, in the link above also addresses the relationship between the Jiangxi Porcelain Company and Qing court porcelain:

“During the thirty-three years from Guangxu to Xuantong, at least for a while, the imperial kiln factory was included in Jiangxi Porcelain Company, which means that at least part of the porcelain that the court entered during this period was Jiangxi Porcelain Company produced.”

“Jiangxi Porcelain Company exercised the functions of the Royal Kiln Factory for a period of time…”

The author concludes that the Jiangxi Porcelain Company functioned as the Royal Kiln from at least 1908 to the end of 1911, that is, until the end of the Xuantong emperor’s reign.

We do know that the early patterns were made using old systems of production and followed the taste of previous reigns. What about the basemarks? This is where a study of the actual porcelains themselves come into their own. I have been tracking Jiangxi Porcelain Company marks for about 20 years now and have a good set of images at hand. In addition, many Chinese writers have outlined the range of marks on Jiangxi Porcelain Company wares in books and on websites, and it is time to look at these now.

So, can we say that pieces with a particular mark are from the 1908-1911 period? Not with absolute certainty, but with a quiet assuredness we can say that examples with underglaze blue marks  2a.1 and2a.2 are from this period and/or in the first year or two afterwards. At this stage this is a working theory. Also, when I publish the second part of this report, it will show some of the same patterns seen below, but with underglaze blue marks without circles. So, the relationships are not clear cut, nor exclusive. There is still much we just do not know.

It would appear, by piecing together some of the reports and looking at some of the early porcelains themselves, that between 1908 and 1911 when the Jiangxi Porcelain Company acted as the ‘Imperial’ kiln, dynastic porcelain which correlated well with porcelain of the preceding decades, was made by the Jiangxi Porcelain Company and mainly held marks in underglaze blue and white with double circles. These ‘old’ patterns – dragon and phoenix, flowers, bird in branches, leaves & berries – were painted in underglaze blue and white alone or in conjunction with polychrome enamels, and were the same or similar to examples with the same patterns but which hold different, dynastic marks:- underglaze blue or red handpainted Guangxu 6 kaishu marks or underglaze blue handpainted Kangxi 4 or 6 kaishu marks (these latter being examples of Kangxi revival wares). These pieces are so similar and give a good indication that all (with Jiangxi Porcelain Company  marks, Guangxu M&P and Kangxi marks) were made at the same manufacturers and kilns. Official imperial ‘kilndom’ ended in 1911– from 1907/1908 until that date, large numbers of porcelains were delivered to the Beijing imperial court.

In this section examples of Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi porcelains are shown with underglaze blue marks within double blue circles and underglaze blue marks written in 2 columns, like a reign mark – i.e.2a.1 and 2a.2 marks above.

4a. Underglaze blue marks with double circles

Most of these examples are underglaze blue (and underglaze red highlights) & white only, with several distinct patterns and then a range of miscellaneous leaf flower and/or insect patterns.

Then there are examples with some enamel additions (Dragon & Phoenix; Bats & Cloud).

A couple of very rare monochromes are next.

Finally, there are examples with enamels only (but with underglaze blue & white base marks).

These double circle marks are rare, despite the fact that appear to be a lot here – many of the examples below come from books, many from Chinese websites before 2009, only about a dozen have come from western auction houses. And I have been collecting these images for almost 20 years now!

Also, the patterns are very similar to many Guangxu M&P and Kangxi Revival pieces, especially the blue and white wares. The innovative period of Jiangxi Porcelain Company production is yet to come. These pieces can be considered as remnants from the previous decades. The only exceptions may be some of  the enamelled examples at the end.

You will notice that there are at least three base mark calligraphers, one has more ‘flourish’, the others more regimented. The latter ones always give me feeling that calligrapher was left handed, although I am not sure how this idea relates in terms of Chinese calligraphy?

Only two examples are dated, one for 1910 and one for 1913. The latter is of a very unique shape and the pattern is an exception to the more conventional patterns seen in these ‘double circle’ pieces – perhaps an exception to the rule/theory.

The first pattern is of silkworms and mulberry leaves:

1_Artron JPC 14_42_Artron JPC 63_53_Artron JPC 16_14_Artron JPC 32_25_Artron JPC 32_36_Artron JPC 40_27_Artron JPC 48_18_Artron JPC 50_29_JPCB_DBC_310_JPCB_DBC_28

A pair of confronting tigers in a landscape, with and without inscription:

11_Artron JPC 7_312_JPCB_DBC_20

Grapes, leaves and tendrils (grapes in underglaze red):

13_Artron JPC 6_114_Artron JPC 18_615_Artron JPC 28_516_Artron JPC 30_217_Artron JPC 33_418_Artron JPC 34_219_BR1282_520_BR1334_421_JPCB_DBC_8

Berries:

22_JPCB_DBC_18

Dragons, flames and pearl:

23_Artron JPC 22_324_Artron JPC 24_125_JPCB_DBC_526_BR1455_2

Foliage, flowers and berries (latter in underglaze red):

27_Artron JPC 8_128_BR0703_329_Artron JPC 60_1

Foliage, insects and birds:

30_Artron JPC 19_731_Artron JPC 11_132_Artron JPC 46_5

Ducks or geese and grasses:

33_BR0712_734_Artron JPC 44_4

Beaked bird and spikey leaved plant:

35_Artron JPC 18_136_Artron JPC 40_337_Artron JPC 47_438_JPCB_DBC_439_JPCB_DBC_15

Lids with a range of patterns:

40_Artron JPC 24_2

Lotus and Bao Xiang Hua scroll:

41_Artron JPC 51_2

Foliage and vegetables, including bok choy, with inscription:

42_Artron JPC 6_3

Foliage and bird with inscription:

43_Artron JPC 51_4

Rare Figural scene in a garden:

44_JPCB_DBC_16

Bird, rock and peony branch:

45_Artron JPC 7_546_JPCB_DBC_2

Chrysanthemum flowers and foliage – this example (marks shown below) can be seen at the following Victoria & Albert Museum link (note that example is a probable mismatch – Guangxu marked lid, JPC marked bowl):

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O22919/lidded-cup-jiangxi-porcelain-company/

47_BR1460_2a

Chrysanthemums, leaves and bird on rock (short inscription):

48_JPCB_DBC_22

Three friends of winter – pine tree, prunus branch and bamboo:

49_BR0708_5

Flower Sprigs:

50_Artron JPC 47_3

Flowers and leaves (unidentified):

51_Artron JPC 52_552_JPCB_DBC_24

I-Ching and inscription pattern, scalloped and barbed edge:

53_Artron JPC 52_4

Decorative symmetrical scroll with coloured enamel highlights:

54_JPCB_DBC_1455_JPCB_DBC_2656_JPCB_DBC_27

Wheel and inscription:

57_JPCB_DBC_11

Stylised cloud pattern, with and without iron red bats (and one example with a dragon):

58_BR0261_359_Artron JPC 4_660_Artron JPC 52_261_Artron JPC 17_162_Artron JPC 19_863_Artron JPC 22_564_Artron JPC 28_165_Artron JPC 50_4

Underglaze blue line borders with enamel flowers:

67_BR1342_1

Rice Pattern with enamel highlights, a diaper border, and a dragon and phoenix chasing a pearl:

68_BR_MR148_098069_BR_MR182_1189

Flower sprigs in enamel:

70_BR0264_171_BR_MR89_0589a72_BR0273_373_BR0440_1

Pomegranates, narcissi and vegetables:

74_BR0723_5

Very unusual western export style pattern with barbed edge:

75_Artron JPC 17_3

Basket of flowers pattern in leaf shaped cartouche, elaborate border, enamels:

76_BR1460_1

Another basket of flowers with bi-colour border (C19th pattern):

77_JPCB_DBC_17

Flowers, leaves and nandina in enamels:

78_BR1454_1

Pine Tree and peony with crane pair on a rock, with inscription and dating to 1913 (Is this one spurious?):

79_JPCB_DBC_13_1913

Flowers or fruits in enamel:

80_JPCB_DBC_781_BR0868_582_JPCB_DBC_683_JPCB_DBC_184_JPCB_DBC_2585_JPCB_DBC_23_1910

Dated 1910 (above)

Flowers and leaves en grisaille, with enamel daisies and inscription:

86_Artron JPC 11_587_Artron JPC 37_5

Monochrome plate in pale blue with barbed edge:

88_JPCB_DBC_1289_JPCB_DBC_21

4b. Underglaze blue marks in 2 columns

90_Artron JPC 17_691_Artron JPC 1_192_Artron JPC 26_493_JPCB_DBC_1994_Artron JPC 37_495_Artron JPC 59_696_Artron JPC 60_597_JPCB_DBC_998_Artron JPC 19_699_Artron JPC 43_4

(above) Ren Xu date of 1922, this interesting bell shaped weight is in a category of its own

100_Artron JPC 35_1101_Artron JPC 54_3101a_BR0025_1102_BR0318_5103_JPCB_DBC_10

(above) Finally, this example has its own category, very unique ‘Zhong Hua Ming Guo Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ mark.


In the next installment of this report (Parts 2,3 & 4), the true character of Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi products will be shown. The examples and history of the company from 1910 until 1949 will be comprehensively covered. The porcelains of this 1910-1949 period show huge variation and reflect the blossoming and the eventual decline of this most interesting company.

Now to start on Parts 2, 3 & 4…….

Best wishes, Michaela


Bibliography 

A: General Bibliography 

A1. Late Qing Dynasty porcelain: Jiangxi Porcelain Company  2012 ISBN 978-7-5480-1549-9 233pp by Lai Dayi,  Jiangxi Fine Arts Publishing House

A2. A History of the Porcelain Industry in Jingdezhen  1976 Michael Dillon  PhD Thesis  Department of Chinese Studies, University of Leeds, September 1976

A3. Chinese Porcelain of the Republic Period 2008  ISBN 978-988-98818-9-4  Simon Kwan, Muwen Tang Fine Arts Publication Ltd

B: Website Bibliography

 B1. Bibliography from the website report –  Reflections on Ke Fengshi’s “Distribution of Jiangxi Ceramics Co., Ltd.” – Analysis of Several Issues of Jiangxi Porcelain Company 2012-04-16   Xiang Kunpeng    China National Museum of Art, Issue 4, 2012

http://www.chnmuseum.cn/tabid/438/InfoID/80911/frtid/283/Default.aspx

  1. China’s No. 1 Historical Archives, ed., “The Criticism of Zhu Guangxu in the Guangxu Period”, Volume 101, pp. 561-563, Zhonghua Book Company, 1996.
  2. Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty Official Kiln Ruins in the North of Zhushan, Jingdezhen, edited by the National Bureau of Cultural Relics, “China’s Important Archaeological Discoveries in 2003”, Cultural Relics Publishing House, 2004, p. 160.
  3. Liu Jinzao: “The Qing Dynasty Continuing Documentary Exam” volume 383, “Industry VI. Public Works”, exam 11306.
  4. “The Complete Works of Qing Dynasty Porcelain Files”, “File Summary 2”, China Pictorial Publishing House, 2008, No. 857 page.
  5. Liu Jinzao: “The Qing Dynasty continued literature review” volume 366 “Industrial Nine. Kiln industry. New style kiln industry”, test 11833.
  6. Porcelain Stone: “China’s First Ceramic Industrial Company – Jiangxi Jingdezhen Company”, “Jingdezhen Ceramics” No. 3, 1984.
  7. Jiangxi Institute of Ceramics, Ministry of Light Industry, eds. Jingdezhen Ceramic History, Sanlian Bookstore, 1959, pp. 270-271.
  8. Xiang Xuan: “Jingdezhen Ceramic Industry Chronicle” Chapter 13 “The Status of Jiangxi Ceramic Company’s Business”, Jingdezhen Kaizhi Printing Bureau, photocopy, 1920.
  9. Wu Renjing, Xin Anchao: “The History of Chinese Ceramics,” Chapter Twelve, “The Qing Times,” Commercial Press, 1998, p. 108.
  10. “The Complete Works of Qing Dynasty Porcelain Files”, “File Summary 2”, China Pictorial Publishing House, 2008, pp. 870-879.
  11. Wang Guangzhen, “Establishment and Termination of Qing Dynasty Imperial Kiln Factory”, “Chinese Ancient Guan Kiln System”, Forbidden City Press, 2004, p. 172.

B2.  Republic Jiangxi Porcelain Company Knowledge – Art Investment (Collection, auction, appraisal) – Everyone Forum  2011 (17/03) Liyang

http://www.360doc.com/content/11/0317/22/6115210_102118382.shtml

Outlines the early history of the JPC and its relationship of the Eight Friends of Zhushan and associates.

B3.  Development of Modern Ceramics of Jiangxi Porcelain Company and Jingdezhen – Xin Zhihua  2008

http://www.jdzmc.com/Article/Class11/Class46/9064.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Best 10 books for the Chinese Republic period (1912-1949)

I was actually surprised whilst compiling this list to find that there are only four English language books written within the last 50 years on porcelains of the Republic Period (at least to my knowledge – I’d love to be corrected). They are all listed below. Whilst they cover a large proportion of examples from this period there are some obvious omissions: porcelains with private company marks; a comprehensive outline of patterns unique or peculiar to the era; an outline of inscriptions on Republic period porcelains for Westerners; and for my tastes at least, information on what the Chinese call ‘daily use’ porcelains – utilitarian wares. These latter constitute their own sub-section and no one has looked them systematically, even though they will form the bulk of collectable examples from this era in the future. This list does not include the large number of books, all Chinese, which deal with Qianjiang porcelains and which therefore often include information on Literati (Eight Friends of Zhushan etc) porcelains and span the two centuries – I’ll leave that list for someone else.

1 .Chinese Porcelain of the Republic Period 2008 ISBN 978-988-98818-9-4  Simon Kwan, Muwen Tang Fine Arts Publication Ltd. (Its predecessor, Brush & Clay, same author is almost exactly the same but out of print)

Front_Kwan

Excellent pictures of high-end plaques and porcelains collected by the Kwan family since the 1960s, including a series of chapters on the painters and their lives, the problems with ‘Hongxian’ pieces, some marks of the period, and Qianjiang and Literati porcelains. This book is in English as well as Chinese, which is, with the explanatory chapters, why it tops the list.

2. The Complete Collection of Porcelain of Jiangxi Province Morning Glory Publishers –           Porcelain from the year 1912-1949 (I) 2008  ed. Tie Yuan (Company and Artist signed) ISBN 978-7-5054-1744-1

Front COMPLETE Vol 1_LR

–           Porcelain from the year 1912-1949 (II) 2008 ed. Tie Yuan (reign marked copies) ISBN 978-7-5054-1745-8

Front COMPLETE Vol II

These two volumes have pictures of porcelains from provincial museums throughout Jiangxi, including the Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum and the Jiangxi Provincial Museum in Jingdezhen. The text is in Chinese but the picture captions are in English, so it is completely understandable. The books have a more representative range of pieces from this period, and for that reason I find it very interesting. The first volume includes all pieces from private companies, individual artists, and schools. The second volume includes those reign marked pieces contemporary to the period, i.e. Hongxian and Jurentang, and also the large number of examples which have earlier reign marks from the Ming and Qing dynasties, but are of Republic period age. This highlights the fact that the Chinese see this type of Republic period reign marked ware as a classification in itself.

3. Innovations and Creations, A Retrospect of 20th Century Porcelain from Jingdezhen 2004  ISBN 962-7101-69-9  Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum and Art Museum & The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Front INNO_CREAT

Another book with many images, in Chinese and English, text as well as captions. An excellent range of examples, not just from the Republic period but also from the People’s Republic, items not seen in other books.

4. The Great Fortune, Chinese & Japanese Porcelain of the 19th and 20th centuries & their forerunners, from the Weishaupt Collection 2002 ISBN 3-00-010306-6     George Weishaupt

Front_Great Fortune

This book is packed full of information and pictures, in English and German. The detailed captions, translating inscriptions and marks, as well as the essays on a range of interesting subjects (Dayazhai. Monochromes, Motifs etc) make it endlessly interesting. One comes back to it regularly to discover more. Covers more than just Republic era porcelains.

5a. The Republic of China, Porcelain on Inspection Vol I: Pattern, Inscription and Bibliotic (MINGUO CIQI JIANDING: WENSHI KUANSHI BIANWEI) 2004 ISBN 7-80178-136-8, by Tie Yuan and Xi Ming

Front POI Vol I_LR

This book, and its counterpart below, are in Chinese only, unfortunately. However, it is packed full of information and would love to have it translated. It lists entrepreneurs, educators, painters, makers, outlines patterns under headings such as figural, landscape, animal, flower and bird, four seasons flowers, inscriptions, all with masses of images from the museums of Jiangxi (some of which are in other Chinese books above). It also has chapters on dated porcelains, hallmarks, company marks and imitations, plus a range of appendices which look very interesting.

5b. The Republic of China, Porcelain on Inspection Vol II: Paste, Glaze, Paint and Shapes (MINGUO CIQI JIANDING: TAIYOU CAIHUI QIXING) 2004 ISBN 7-80178-137-6, by Tie Yuan and Xi Ming

Front POI Vol II

This is the sister book to the one above – Chinese text only, but also packed with information – yet to be translated.

6. Century Retrospect, Zeng’s Collection of Jingdezhen Porcelain during 20th Century 2003 ISBN 7-80178-089-2 eds. Zeng Meifang & Zeng Chengyu Hua Ling Press

Front Zengs_LR

This book shows the personal collection of Zeng Meifang, a gentleman from Nanchang, Jiangxi. All classes of porcelains from the Republic period and later are covered, with examples not seen elsewhere, which is why this book is so interesting. One introductory chapter and the captions are in English, the rest in Chinese. Hard to get.

7. From the Dragon’s Treasure, Chinese Porcelain from the 19th & 20th Century 1987 ISBN 1-870076-05-2 Gunhilde Avitabile Bamboo Publishing

Front_from Dragons Treasure

This little treasure now seems rather dated, but it is still excellent for showing Hongxian, Jurentang and Qianlong marked pieces which are at least guaranteed to be from the Republic period. Also shows Jiaqing to Xuantong examples. All pieces are from the Weishaupt Collection.

8. Dating Chinese Porcelain from Facial Features and Adornments: A Handbook 2013 ISBN 978-91-637-3337-6 by Tommy Eklof

Tommy2

Of course, Tommy’s handbook is essential for dating and other purposes and we all should have a copy! The Republic period is extremely well covered, not least because so many examples from this era are dated in their inscriptions and therefore provide excellent quality control.

9. Canon of Colored Ceramic painting of Famous Artists in Modern China 2005 ISBN 7-80730-031-0

Front CANON_LR

This is an interesting book, which looks at late C19th and Republic era examples of mixed quality. Listed according to porcelain shape and age, the book is packed full of images which show the pieces, the artists, the inscriptions, and other details. Text in Chinese, captions in English as well. Hard to get.

10. Late Qing Dynasty porcelain: Jiangxi Porcelain Company  2012 ISBN 978-7-5480-1549-9 233pp by Lai Dayi,  Jiangxi Fine Arts Publishing House

no pic sorry

This book contains one man’s collection of Jiangxi Porcelain Company pieces, loads of photos and marks, introduction and preface in English, rest is Chinese. Fascinating.

For the desperate, here are a few other recommended books on the era:

  • Republic of China Porcelain 2010 ISBN 978-7-200-08365-1 188pp by 北京艺术博物馆, published by 北京出版社
  • A Discourse on Hung Hsien Porcelain 1987 ISBN 9-781588-860187 64pp by Mark Chou

This list was written in about 2013/14 so there would be more out there now, but none in English as far as I am aware.

 

Best wishes, Michaela

Chinese porcelain LIDDED SERVING BOWLS – a 20th Century shape

This is another very satisfying shape. They were produced mainly throughout the Republic Period (1912-1949) and come in 3 main sizes – approximately 15.5cm/6”; 19.5cm/7 ½”; 26cm/10”. The smaller size is most common and the very largest size is most rare. A few may have been produced in the last years of the Qing dynasty, and a few were produced during the first part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC 1949-present).

Many were produced to order by private companies, usually as part of a larger dinner service. In general but not exclusively the patterns which are derived from the Qing period show reign marks, new patterns developed from the Qianjiang and Literati movements/palettes show company marks.

Some of them have inscriptions which provide information regarding their makers, dating, and commendations as a gift.

The following images (nearly 200 I’m afraid!) will show, in no particular order, the range of patterns and marks to be found on these lidded serving bowls. As a whole they give a good representation of the ‘daily use’ porcelain of the Republic Period – in fact there are images of Chiang Kai Shek and Madame Chiang Kai Shek eating from these wares! – shown at the end. I will note where possible if an example has a date, but otherwise this is just a visual report to feast the eyes and elucidate the considerable variation in enamelling and painting during this period.

BR0369_5 (800x240) (800x240)BR0104_5 (800x239) (800x239)BR0389_5 (800x222) (800x222)BR0848_2 (800x207) (800x207)BR0176_7 (800x202) (800x202)BR0063_3 (800x233) (800x233)BR0454_1 (800x192) (800x192)BR0321_3 (800x204) (800x204)BR0239_3 (800x198) (800x198)BR0728_5 (800x187) (800x187)

BR0596_3 (800x166) (800x166)

Dated 1937

BR_MR148_0976 (800x192) (800x192)

PRC, early

BR0300_1 (800x200) (800x200)BR0524_1 (800x181) (800x181)BR0356_5 (800x165) (800x165)BR0637_2 (800x177) (800x177)BR_MR37_0269 (800x188) (800x188)BR0822_9 (800x194) (800x194)BR0410_6 (800x183) (800x183)

BR0521_7 (800x186) (800x186)

Dated 1924

BR0282_9 (800x165) (800x165)

PRC, early

BR0768_5 (800x195) (800x195)BR0710_1 (800x187) (800x187)BR0461_5 (800x189) (800x189)BR0856_3 (800x212) (800x212)DP_1zm (800x189) (800x189)BR0708a_3 (800x192) (800x192)BR0674_5 (800x187) (800x187)BR0168_4 (800x172) (800x172)BR0759_2 (800x184) (800x184)

BR0786_5 (800x167) (800x167)

Dated 1936

BR0041_4 (800x160) (800x160)BR0784_5 (800x203) (800x203)BR_MR166_1087 (800x186) (800x186)BR_MR100_0646 (800x189) (800x189)

BR0702_1 (800x182) (800x182)

Dated 1931

BR0189_3 (800x169) (800x169)BR_MR106_0679 (800x194) (800x194)BR0719_7 (800x189) (800x189)BR0502_2 (800x175) (800x175)BR0203_1 (800x160) (800x160)BR0220_3 (800x186) (800x186)BR0621_6 (800x266) (800x266)BR0361_4 (800x172) (800x172)BR0620_4 (800x194) (800x194)

BR0706_6 (800x202) (800x202)

Dated 1934

BR0182_2 (800x183) (800x183)BR0756_2 (800x181) (800x181)BR0527_3 (800x190) (800x190)BR0550_5 (800x185) (800x185)BR0705_5 (800x199) (800x199)BR0708_5 (800x180) (800x180)BR0592_5 (800x214) (800x214)BR0655_3 (800x210) (800x210)BR0515_3 (800x190) (800x190)BR0738_1 (800x189) (800x189)BR0715_2 (800x200) (800x200)BR_MR58_0387 (800x194) (800x194)BR0721_5 (800x186) (800x186)

BR0588_7 (800x147) (800x147)

Dated 1937

BR0598_1 (800x155) (800x155)

Dated 1936

BR0131_2 (800x187) (800x187)BR0182_1 (800x178) (800x178)BR0699_2 (800x171) (800x171)BR0082_3 (800x182) (800x182)BR0293_5 (800x188) (800x188)BR0583_5 (800x174) (800x174)

BR0711_7 (800x191) (800x191)

Dated 1933

BR_MR100_0641 (800x189) (800x189)BR0481a_2 (800x183) (800x183)BR_MR139_0882 (800x180) (800x180)BR0715_5 (800x188) (800x188)BR0711_4 (800x168) (800x168)

BR0732_4 (800x147) (800x147)

Dated 1938

BR0631_2 (800x192) (800x192)

Dated 1934

BR_MR75_0501 (800x169) (800x169)

BR0721_3 (800x198) (800x198)

Dated 1933

BR0574_3 (800x193) (800x193)

BR0698_6 (800x186) (800x186)

Dated 1931

BR0842_4 (800x169) (800x169)

Dated 1944

DPExBR_012_2 (800x149) (800x149)BR0712_7 (800x189) (800x189)BR0641_1 (800x213) (800x213)BR_MR80_0536 (800x178) (800x178)BR0731_6 (800x184) (800x184)BR0700_2 (800x198) (800x198)BR0709_1 (800x176) (800x176)BR0634_2 (800x184) (800x184)BR0833_4 (800x173) (800x173)BR0877_7 (800x160) (800x160)BR0589_3 (800x203) (800x203)BR0632_6 (800x232) (800x232)DPExBR_033_3 (800x167) (800x167)BR0519_4 (800x175) (800x175)DP_1zr (800x140) (800x140)BR0489_1 (800x184) (800x184)BR_MR102_0659 (800x201) (800x201)

BR0495_1 (800x187) (800x187)

Dated 1936

BR0707_1 (800x170) (800x170)BR0342_1 (800x160) (800x160)BR0104_3 (800x217) (800x217)

BR0702_3 (800x191) (800x191)

Dated 1934

BR_MR140_0892 (800x187) (800x187)BR0438_5 (800x205) (800x205)BR0279_4 (800x150) (800x150)

BR0712_5 (800x195) (800x195)

Dated 1933

BR0640_3 (800x180) (800x180)BR0645_5 (800x213) (800x213)BR0775_4 (800x142) (800x142)BR0375_2 (800x168) (800x168)BR0279_3 (800x146) (800x146)

BR0784_4 (800x164) (800x164)

Dated 1937

BR0534_6 (800x194) (800x194)BR0802_7 (800x159) (800x159)BR0632_1 (800x154) (800x154)

BR0703_2 (800x167) (800x167)

Dated 1953, PRC

BR0706_4 (800x162) (800x162)BR0178_4 (800x183) (800x183)BR0838_3 (800x142) (800x142)BR0712_1 (800x178) (800x178)BR0701_1 (800x180) (800x180)

BR0844_1 (800x189) (800x189)

Dated 1926 or 1937

BR0700_6 (800x178) (800x178)

BR0833_7 (800x156) (800x156)

Dated 1934

BR0713_6 (800x192) (800x192)BR0858_3 (800x128) (800x128)

BR0720_1 (800x178) (800x178)

Dated 1944

BR0587_2 (800x183) (800x183)BR0732_6 (800x142) (800x142)BR0159_4 (800x178) (800x178)

BR0273_1 (800x182) (800x182)

Dated 1931

BR0702_6 (800x179) (800x179)BR0705_2 (800x141) (800x141)BR0712_2 (800x177) (800x177)BR0657_1 (800x170) (800x170)BR0732_5 (800x181) (800x181)

BR0641_5 (800x165) (800x165)

Dated 1936

BR0732_3 (800x178) (800x178)BR0586_4 (800x180) (800x180)BR0629_4 (800x188) (800x188)BR0653_1 (800x168) (800x168)BR0622_5 (800x196) (800x196)BR0324_3 (800x181) (800x181)BR0821_1 (800x191) (800x191)

BR0273_2 (800x177) (800x177)

Dated 1931

BR0178_3 (800x180) (800x180)BR0862_1 (800x174) (800x174)BR0260_1 (800x177) (800x177)BR0481_1 (800x166) (800x166)BR0661_1 (800x187) (800x187)BR0704_2 (800x141) (800x141)BR0774_6 (800x140) (800x140)BR0089_3 (800x141) (800x141)BR0729_3 (800x142) (800x142)BR0844_3 (800x197) (800x197)BR0843_5 (800x200) (800x200)BR0721_2 (800x171) (800x171)BR0843_8 (800x153) (800x153)BR0727_1 (800x165) (800x165)BR0282_1 (800x162) (800x162)

BR0689a_4 (800x126) (800x126)

Dated 1930

BR0705_3 (800x149) (800x149)BR0324_1 (800x180) (800x180)

BR0843_2 (800x184) (800x184)

Dated 1922

BR0772_6 (800x183) (800x183)

BR0783_5 (800x176) (800x176)

Dated 1931

BR0708_6 (800x175) (800x175)

Dated 1921

BR0142_4 (800x166) (800x166)

BR0843_6 (800x141) (800x141)

Dated 1935

BR0324_2 (800x177) (800x177)BR0730_3 (800x141) (800x141)BR0656_2 (800x168) (800x168)

BR0718_3 (800x164) (800x164)

Dated 1932

BR0728_4 (800x159) (800x159)

Dated 1935

BR0707_5 (800x141) (800x141)BR0159_6 (800x178) (800x178)BR0843_3 (800x151) (800x151)

BR0863_1 (800x158) (800x158)

Dated 1922

BR0123_1 (800x143) (800x143)BR0303_3 (800x125) (800x125)BR0633_5 (800x182) (800x182)BR0837_4 (800x162) (800x162)BR0159_5 (800x170) (800x170)

BR0720_3 (800x142) (800x142)

Dated 1932

BR0718_1 (800x186) (800x186)BR0719_6 (800x137) (800x137)BR0497_1 (800x147) (800x147)

BR0622_4 (800x146) (800x146)

Dated 1936

BR0586_5 (800x116) (800x116)BR0662_4 (800x140) (800x140)BR0657_5 (800x140) (800x140)BR0633_6 (800x143) (800x143)BR0596_2 (800x170) (800x170)BR0517_1 (800x140) (800x140)

BR0736_4 (800x136) (800x136)

PRC

BR0772_7 (800x151) (800x151)

BR_MR147_0975 (800x185) (800x185)

PRC

Chiang Kai Shek Bowls

Chiang Kai Shek and Madame Chiang Kai Shek, eating a meal in their home, photo taken after 1941

Dated 20th Century Chinese Porcelain Compilation: 1900 to 2000

What is this resource?

This is a compilation of dated examples of Chinese porcelain from the years 1900-2000.  Most are authenticated, a very few may be dubious (mainly because I am constantly learning). There are over 1000 examples in this resource, many of which you can see below. However, for copyright reasons, some are held on the Gotheborg Discussion group site – you would have to join up to that site to view those.

The image compilations are shown in chronological order. Most of the dates are from inscriptions on the sides of the items. A very few are dated on the base. See below for more details on the dating.

How to use this resource: 

1. This compilation of dated porcelains may help you to date your porcelains more precisely.

To help you date your piece simply scroll down until you find something similar, in pattern, in enamel colour etc, mark, calligraphy. Try to determine if that particular attribute occurs over a long or short period of time – some patterns last for decades. This will help to pinpoint a date for your piece. However, this really only works if there are multiple examples with the same pattern. One example is NOT enough to give an accurate dating.

For example:  I have a bowl with no date but with a very distinctive pattern and ground colour. Until I put this compilation together I wasn’t sure how old it was, and just labelled it ‘Republic’.

br_mr81_0545-800x183

When I scroll down through the compilation below I see similar dated items coming up in 1918:

1918_wuwu_br0818_5-800x2511918_WuWu_BR0818_5jpg

:in 1923, with a slightly different subject

1923_guihai_br1042-800x1811923_GuiHai_BR1042.jpg

:in 1924  there are several examples all very similar to my bowl

1924_jiazi_br0834_1-800x1791924_JiaZi_BR0834_1.jpg

1924_jiazi_br0842_7-800x1821924_JiaZi_BR0842_7.jpg

1924_jiazi_br1321-800x1881924_JiaZi_BR1321.jpg

1924_jiazi_br13064-800x1681924_JiaZi_BR13064.jpg

:in 1925 there are two examples, although one has white ground instead of salmon pink

1925_yichou_br0451_4-800x1801925_YiChou_BR0451_4jpg

1925_yichou_br0654_3-800x1931925_YiChou_BR0654_3.jpg

:in 1926, just one

1926_bingyin_br0457_6-800x1831926_BingYin_BR0457_6.jpg

After that there are no more examples, so the tentative age range of these pieces, until new dated pieces apear, is 1918-1926, with a plethora in 1924. This group gives some idea of the range of shapes that were made with this decoration. My original bowl has a Shanghai base mark, and it apparent from this and other information that many of these types of porcelain, especially with the gilded rims and calligraphy were made for Shanghai companies, either in Jingdezhen or in ‘red’ (low firing enamel) kilns in or around Shanghai itself.

2. This compilation of dated porcelains will show how patterns change through time. It certainly shows the waning influence of Qing patterns during the 1920s/1930s and the uptake of literati influences in the patterns and painting, with a whole new range of striking patterns appearing on dated pieces in the mid Republic period. Note the appearance of coloured grounds with dates which were never seen before the 1920s – all dated pieces before that were either Qianjiang with white ground or their later literati derivatives. By the 1930s some patterns reminiscent of the Qing dynasty start to be produced again.

3. This compilation of dated porcelains will show the emergence of new shapes which can be linked to particular eras or even decades. This is also the case for new patterns or even colour combinations. For example, it becomes apparent when looking at the dated examples after WWII, from 1945 onwards, that the palette of white ground and black borders is very prevalent. Excluding some of the more ornate borders which may have been made pre- war, this particular combination is very distinctive and linked to the 1945-1955 period.

1947_br0594_4-800x211

4. This compilation can give some indication of the time range of particular private company base marks. For example the Shanghai company Jian Hua – the first piece is in 1935, then 1940 etc. In fact this company mark crops up in the 1940-1945 period quite regularly, at a time when few porcelain companies were able to produce porcelains because of the Japanese occupation. Perhaps it is possible that the Japanese gave some dispensation to this particular company during that time to continue to produce pieces from their ‘red’ kiln in or around Shanghai?

1935_yihai_br0625_6-800x1561935_YiHai_BR0625_6.jpg1940_br0625_3-800x1681940_BR0625_3.jpg

5. Especially after 1945 there are very few dated pieces from Jingdezhen, most are from Nanchang (to be expanded in another report)…..

6. Despite the fact relatively few porcelains were manufactured during the Japanese Occupation (1937-1945), it is apparent that this did not include porcelain plaques, which seem to be quite prolific at this time. I have yet to determine the reasons, other than logistical, for this.

CAVEAT:  It should be noted that this compilation cannot be comprehensive. I have been gathering these images for some 15 years, but have really only learned the dating translations in the last couple of years. All errors are mine.  There are thousands of dated porcelains throughout the world with a huge repository in China itself, but this is meant to be a pictorial start to educating ourselves from what the porcelains themselves can teach us.

In addition, it is emphasised that within the published examples, there is an inherent bias because the pieces often come from a very particular source – for example, from a collection of just ‘Jiangxi Porcelain Company’ pieces or from a provincial collection which acquired many of its pieces from a State teaching Institute in the 1970s, or from a book which is only about Qianjiang porcelains etc.

HOW ARE THE PORCELAINS DATED?

There are several methods the Chinese use to show when the porcelain was made:

  1. Cyclical dates in the inscription. See any or all of the following links for an explanation:

http://www.gotheborg.com/marks/dates_page.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_sexagenary_cycle

http://www.koh-antique.com/qj/table/table.htm

  1. Cyclical dates (as above) within the base mark, quite rare.
  2. Dates written with Chinese number characters in the inscription (and more rarely on the base). This can be subdivided into:-        a)  dates within the Republic period: i.e. sometimes the characters for ‘Ming Guo’ (民国) precede the number characters, which means you add an extra 11 years (as the Republic started in 1912) to the numbers to get the actual datee. Ming Guo 1922 = actual year 1933.1946_br0591a_2-800x1861946_BR0591a_2    There are exceptions, where dates do not have the ‘Ming Guo’ preceding, but you just know (by experience) that you still have to add 11 years – however some pieces are nonetheless ambiguous!     b)   Dates outside of the 1912-1949 period which means you just read the numbers (in Chinese characters).1955_bbsa4_1-800x2311955_BBSA4_1
  3. Dates written with Arabic numbers, as we use in the West, either in the inscription or on the base.1952_bbsa8_1-800x2291952_BBSA8_1
  4. There are a couple of examples here with purchase dates (often with receipt). This, at least, gives the youngest date possible for these items.

Dated Examples in Chronological order:

dot-red Example from the Gotheborg Discussion Group Dated Porcelain Section – to view the other part of this report (the examples with red and yellow dots) please visit

http://www.gotheborg.com/discus/read.php?file=/647528/737270.html&lm=1484035385

There is an annual fee of $25 or more but you will also be able to access 20 years of Chinese and Japanese ceramic information (Although I am a volunteer moderator on the Gotheborg website, I have no financial involvement, and only want to protect myself from copyright breach by NOT posting the images on this WORDPRESS site). These examples have been under the scrutiny of many knowledgable people and so the authenticity of the dating is extremely good.

dot-yellow Example from Published Sources, see Bibliography at end, but images of these will be added to the Gotheborg site (above) over the next few months. (Because Gotheborg is a members only site, published images may be posted there as part of a private discussion). The authenticity of published examples is usually beyond reproach, so I am in full confidence with these examples.

dot-green Examples from my database, can be found here on my WordPress blog – https://watersilkdragon.wordpress.com/.  These examples have come from many sources, internet auction around the world, Porcelain discussion groups in China, and my own collection. Many of the pieces from China have been authenticated by very experienced moderators, and the internet auction examples are considered authentic by me, with some question marks next to the examples. I have high confidence in the authenticity of the rest. These examples are more prosaic, ‘daily use’ pieces, in general, especially compared to some of the published examples, which come from museums etc.

 Below you will find the images in chronological order. Each example has a colour key (above), so, if the image is not next to it you will find it in the alternative online location as explained above. Each example also has a unique code, for my file locations, but also for the purposes of discussion. The capital letter abbreviations in the yellow dot ‘published’ examples refers to the name of the book, a list of which is at the end of this report.

In combination, there are over 1000 dated examples in this resource. If you combine them from the different sources, for your private use at home, you will have a powerful dating tool. For the early part of the century there are many examples to be found only on the Gotheborg site, but from about the mid-1930s by far the greatest number will be found on the WordPress site. The ‘published’ examples span the centuries in groupings, based on the specialist area that the particular book covers, i.e. the Qianjiang book examples over cover up to the end of the Qing Dynasty, 1911.

1900-no

1900_gengzi_br0936-800x202dot-green 1900_GengZi_BR0936 1900_gengzi_br1167-800x152dot-green 1900_GengZi_BR1167 1900_gengzi_br1266-800x185dot-green 1900_GengZi_BR1266

dot-red   1900_GD1_GengZi_1 dot-red 1900_GD1_GengZi_2dot-red 1900_GD1_GengZi_3

dot-yellow 1900_CCP_1_GengZi  dot-yellow 1900_QLQ5_GengZi_1 dot-yellow 1900_QLQ5_GengZi_2

dot-yellow 1900_QLQ5_GengZi_3 dot-yellow 1900_QLQ11_GengZi_1

So for these red and yellow doted examples you will need to look on the Gotheborg Discussion Group site, as explained above.

1901-no

dot-yellow 1901_CCP_1_XinChou dot-yellow 1901_QLQ2_XinChou_1 dot-yellow1901_QLQ2_XinChou_2

dot-yellow 1901_QLQ2_XinChou_3 dot-yellow 1901_QLQ4_XinChou_1 dot-yellow  1901_QLQ4_XinChou_2

dot-yellow 1901_QLQ5_XinChou_1 dot-yellow 1901_QLQ5_XinChou_2 dot-yellow 1901_QLQ8_XinChou_1

dot-yellow 1901_QLQ11_XinChou_1 dot-yellow 1901_QLQ13_XinChou_1

Don’t worry, as we get further into the century you will find more and more of the examples are shown here….

1902-no

1902_renyin_br0979-800x149dot-green 1902_RenYin_BR0979

dot-red1902_GD1_RenYin_1 dot-red 1902_GD1_RenYin_2 dot-red1902_GD1_RenYin_3

dot-yellow1902_CCP_2_RenYin dot-yellow1902_QLQ1_RenYin_1  dot-yellow1902_QLQ3_RenYin_1

dot-yellow 1902_QLQ5_RenYin_1 dot-yellow1902_QLQ6_RenYin_1