It is the very lovely variations in green glaze which make this pattern and pieces so beguiling. This pattern is easy to recognise as the decoration is applied before the glaze and is moulded, leaving a pattern in relief. Then the glaze is blown through a straw or other device onto the moulded form and fired, leaving a slightly thicker, deeper coloured glaze on the non-raised portion of the decoration.
This particular Late Qing and Republic version is quite distinct in that only a few patterns are used and the mould does not have high relief so that the pattern is often quite subtle.
Of the 35 examples shown here the patterns which are moulded are as follows:
- a Qilong amongst a floral scroll with moulded keyfret (24) = 66%
- a Bao Xiang Hua or lotus scroll version (8) = 22% (one with a double shou character)
- a stacked keyfret pattern (2) = 6%
- a bat & beribboned coin version 1 = 3%
- a prunus blossom pattern 1 = 3%
Press-moulding (or techniques similar) with these scroll patterns and scale has been used on ceramics since at least the Qianlong period, usually with a celadon ground. They are rare, high end vases and the like. Mid Qing (Daoguang and Jiaqing) pieces are also found with the more turquoise shadings. It should be noted that most monochrome celadon wares which show relief are incised or carved rather than moulded.
This mark & period Qianlong vase was sold at Christies in 2009. Provenance: removed from the Summer Palace, Beijing in 1860, by reputeLord Loch of Drylaw (1821-1900), by repute Alfred Morrison MP (1821-1897) and thence by descent to Lord Margadale of Islay. The ground is described as ‘crisply moulded in shallow relief’ (as opposed to carved or incised, thus this is probably moulded in some way).
The Marks and Dating
As you will see in the images below there are a range of marks, with most coming from private companies, particularly the Jiujiang Guang Hua company. There are some earlier pieces, with a peach and bat mark, handwritten Guangxu and a handwritten Qianlong seal mark, all late Qing in my opinion. The rest are Republic period, except for the Xuantong hallmarked example and the Jingdezhen circle mark, the latter being earliest PRC.
Press-moulded mark statistics, from 35 examples
Private company 10
Qianlong 6 H 5
Qianlong 6 seal H 3
Qianlong 4 S 4
Guangxu 6 H 1
Jiaqing 6 H 1
Daoguang 6 seal H 1
Jurentang Zhi Seal H 1
Jingdezhen (circle) 1
Peach & bat Red 1
Hallmark Xuantong 1
No mark 2
- From The Complete Collection of Porcelain of Jiangxi Province: Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty
2. From The Complete Collection of Porcelain of Jiangxi Province: Porcelain from the year 1912-1949 (I)
3. From The Complete Collection of Porcelain of Jiangxi Province: Porcelain from the year 1912-1949
4. From “Republic of China Porcelain 2010”
5. From Simon Kwan’s “Chinese Porcelain of the Republic Period 2008”
This example, of course, harks back to its Qianlong predecessors rather than being part of the newer pattern discussed here. However, it is included for exactly that reason.
The pictures below are divided according to shape and show the full range of wonderful green and turquoise colours possible, as well as the different ‘moulded’ designs, and all the different marks. One could just as easily group these by design and you may see a different set of elements or insights. I haven’t detailed each example but if anyone is interested they are welcome to contact me for further information.
Plates, trays, dishes
Teapots, sugar pots, milk jugs, tea sets, tea cups
Again, I hope that this report has expanded your knowledge of Republic period patterns. In a way I see these pieces as representing part of the monochrome tradition in Chinese ceramics into the C20th. Best wishes, Michaela