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’.
When I scroll down through the compilation below I see similar dated items coming up in 1918:
:in 1923, with a slightly different subject
:in 1924 there are several examples all very similar to my bowl
:in 1925 there are two examples, although one has white ground instead of salmon pink
:in 1926, just one
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.
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?
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:
- Cyclical dates in the inscription. See any or all of the following links for an explanation:
- Cyclical dates (as above) within the base mark, quite rare.
- 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 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
- Dates written with Arabic numbers, as we use in the West, either in the inscription or on the base.1952_BBSA8_1
- 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:
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
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.
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.
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_GengZi_BR0936 1900_GengZi_BR1167 1900_GengZi_BR1266
1900_GD1_GengZi_1 1900_GD1_GengZi_2 1900_GD1_GengZi_3
1900_CCP_1_GengZi 1900_QLQ5_GengZi_1 1900_QLQ5_GengZi_2
So for these red and yellow doted examples you will need to look on the Gotheborg Discussion Group site, as explained above.
1901_CCP_1_XinChou 1901_QLQ2_XinChou_1 1901_QLQ2_XinChou_2
1901_QLQ2_XinChou_3 1901_QLQ4_XinChou_1 1901_QLQ4_XinChou_2
1901_QLQ5_XinChou_1 1901_QLQ5_XinChou_2 1901_QLQ8_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_GD1_RenYin_1 1902_GD1_RenYin_2 1902_GD1_RenYin_3
1902_CCP_2_RenYin 1902_QLQ1_RenYin_1 1902_QLQ3_RenYin_1
1902_QLQ5_RenYin_1 1902_QLQ6_RenYin_1 1902_QLQ6_RenYin_2
1903_QLQ1_GuiMao_1 1903_QLQ1_GuiMao_2 1903_QLQ3_GuiMao_1
1903_QLQ3_GuiMao_2 1903_QLQ3_GuiMao_3 1903_QLQ6_GuiMao_1
1903_QLQ6_GuiMao_2 1903_QLQ6_GuiMao_3 1903_QLQ6_GuiMao_4
1903_QLQ7_GuiMao_1 1903_QLQ10_GuiMao_1 1903_QLQ11_GuiMao_1
1903_QLQ12_GuiMao_1 1903_QLQ12_GuiMao_2 1903_QLQ12_GuiMao_3
1904_JiaChen_BR_MR123 1904_JiaChen_BR0942 1904_JiaChen_BR0953 1904_JiaChen_BR1271
1904_CCP_1_JiaChen 1904_QLQ1_JiaChen_1 1904_QLQ2_JiaChen_1
1904_QLQ7_JiaChen_1 1904_QLQ10_JiaChen_1 1904_QLQ10_JiaChen_2
1905_GD3_YiSi_1 1905_GD3_YiSi_2 1905_GD4_YiSi_1
1905_QLQ1_YiSi_1 1905_QLQ3_YiSi_1 1905_QLQ4_YiSi_1
1905_QLQ7_YiSi_1 1905_QLQ10_YiSi_1 1905_QLQ11_YiSi_1
1906_GD4_BingWu_1 1906_GD4_BingWu_2 1906_GD4_BingWu_3
1906_GD5_BingWu_1 1906_GD5_BingWu_2 1906_GD5_BingWu_3
1906_CCP_7_BingWu 1906_QLQ2_BingWu_1 1906_QLQ4_BingWu_1
1906_QLQ7_BingWu_1 1906_QLQ9_BingWu_1 1906_QLQ9_BingWu_2
1907_GD5_DingWei_1 1907_GD5_DingWei_2 1907_GD5_DingWei_3
1907_GD6_DingWei_1 1907_GD6_DingWei_2 1907_GD6_DingWei_3
1907_CCP_8_DingWei 1907_QLQ3_DingWei_1 1907_QLQ7_DingWei_1
1907_QLQ9_DingWei_1 1907_QLQ10_DingWei_1 1907_QLQ13_DingWei_1
1908_GD6_WuShen 1908_GD7_WuShen_1 1908_GD7_WuShen_2
1908_CCP_1_WuShen 1908_CCP_2_WuShen 1908_QLQ4_WuShen_1
1908_QLQ8_WuShen_1 1908_QLQ9_WuShen_1 1908_QLQ9_WuShen_2
1909_GD8_JiYou_1 1909_GD8_JiYou_2 1909_GD8_JiYou_3
1909_CCP_5_JiYou 1909_QLQ8_JiYou_1 1909_QLQ10_JiYou_1
1910_GengXu_BR0892 1910_GengXu_BR1014 1910_GengXu_BR1103 maybe 1910_GengXu_BR1160 1910_GengXu_BR1172 1910_GengXu_BR1176 1910_GengXu_BR1236
1910_GD8_GengXu_1 1910_GD8_GengXu_2 1910_GD9_GengXu_1
1910_CCP_5_GengXu 1910_CCP1_GengXu 1910_JPCB2_GengXu_1
1910_ICP10_1 1910_QLQ4_GengXu_1 1910_QLQ8_GengXu_1
1910_QLQ8_GengXu_2 1910_QLQ11_GengXu_1 1910_TGF2_GengXu_1
Republic of China 1912-1949
1912_GD9_RenZi_1 1912_GD9_RenZi_2 1912_GD9_RenZi_3
1912_GD10_RenZi_1 1912_GD10_RenZi_2 1912_GD10_RenZi_3
1913_GuiChou_BR0384_6 1913_GuiChou_BR0411_3 1913_GuiChou_BR0421_4 1913_GuiChou_BR0422a_5 1913_GuiChou_BR0422a_5 1913_GuiChou_BR0506_11913_GuiChou_BR1063 1913_GuiChou_BR1123 1913_GuiChou_BR1163 1913_GuiChou_BR1211
1913_GD10_GuiChou_1 1913_GD10_GuiChou_2 1913_GD10_GuiChou_3
1913_CCP_2_GuiChou 1913_CCP_3_GuiChou 1913_CCP_5_GuiChou
1914_JiaYin_BR0450_2 1914_JiaYin_BR0450_3 1914_JiaYin_BR0546_6 1914_JiaYin_BR0729_5 1914_JiaYin_BR1091
1914_GD11_JiaYin 1914_GD12_JiaYin_1 1914_GD12_JiaYin_2
1915_YiMao_BR_MR115_0740 1915_YiMao_BR0389_2 1915_YiMao_BR0414_5 1915_YiMao_BR0421_1 15_YiMao_BR0422_2 1915_YiMao_BR0422_3 1915_YiMao_BR0450_4 1915_YiMao_BR0599_6 1915_YiMao_BR0651_3 1915_YiMao_BR0725a_8 1915_YiMao_BR0726_5 1915_YiMao_BR0963
1915_GD12_YiMao_1 1915_GD13_YiMao_1 1915_GD13_YiMao_2
1915_GD13_YiMao_3 1915_GD13_YiMao_4 1915_GD14_YiMao_1
1916_BingChen_BR0377_51916_BingChen_BR0377_6 1916_BingChen_BR0450_5 1916_BingChen_BR0451_1 1916_BingChen_BR0451_2 1916_BingChen_BR0706_2 1916_BingChen_BR0998_11916_BingChen_BR0998_21916_BingChen_BR11101916_BingChen_BR13161916_BingChen_BR1338
1916_GD14_BingChen_1 1916_GD14_BingChen_2 1916_GD15_BingChen_1
1916_GD15_BingChen_2 1916_GD15_BingChen_3 1916_GD15_BingChen_4
1916_CCP_4_BingChen 1916_JPCB1_BingChen_1 1916_TGF2_BingChen_1
1917_GD15_DingSi_1 1917_GD15_DingSi_2 1917_GD16_DingSi_1
1917_GD16_DingSi_2 1917_GD16_DingSi_3 1917_GD16_DingSi_4
1917_GD16_DingSi_5 1917_GD16_DingSi_6 1917_GD17_DingSi_1
1918_GD17_WuWu_1 1918_GD17_WuWu_2 1918_GD17_WuWu_3
1918_CCP_1_WuWu 1918_CCP_2_WuWu 1918_CCP_7_WuWu
1918_JPCB2_WuWu_1 1918_JPCB4_WuWu_1 1918_JPCB4_WuWu_2
1919_JiWei_BR0329_21919_JiWei_BR0335_61919_JiWei_BR0339_21919_JiWei_BR0393_41919_JiWei_BR0414_61919_JiWei_BR0416_2 1919_JiWei_BR0422a_41919_JiWei_BR0466_4 1919_JiWei_BR0677_41919_JiWei_BR0721_61919_JiWei_BR0725_31919_JiWei_BR0751_21919_JiWei_BR0827_11919_JiWei_BR0904or YiWei18951919_JiWei_BR1049
1919_GD18_JiWei_1 1919_GD18_JiWei_2 1919_GD18_JiWei_3
1919_GD18_JiWei_4 1919_GD18_JiWei_5 1919_GD19_JiWei_1
1919_GD19_JiWei_2 1919_GD19_JiWei_3 1919_GD19_JiWei_4
1919_CCP_3_JiWei 1919_CCP_4_JiWei_1 1919_CCP_4_JiWei_2
1919_CCP_6_JiWei 1919_JPCB1_JiWei_1 1919_JPCB1_JiWei_2
1919_JPCB3_JiWei_1 1919_JPCB3_JiWei_2 1919_JPCB5_JiWei_1