As an antique collector I know how tricky and challenging can be the whole process of collecting Chinese porcelain pieces. Not just because of the wide range of Chinese pieces available on the market, but also for the great number of fakes you can find out there. Because of this, establishing a collection of Chinese porcelain requires appropriate knowledge. This simple guide will provide you with the basic information on fake and real antiques from China so when it comes to buy new Chinese vases or other Chinese porcelain piece to enrich your collection, you can make more informed decision.
What is defined as antique Chinese porcelain? My definition of antique Chinese porcelain follows some practice: first, an antique must show porcelain age signs and second it must originate either in the “early republic” or earlier. As “early republic” period we consider any piece made after the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Any porcelain piece that is produced later than 1930 is qualified as vintage.
Differences between Chinese porcelain and other Chinese ceramics. It's quite difficult to understand the difference between Chinese porcelain and other ceramics. This is especially case in the language and land where porcelain was produced for the first time. Generally in China, all glazed ceramic types are called “porcelain”.
Indemnification and marks. Never identifying antique Chinese vases or other Chinese porcelain piece vie the mark. Marks on antique porcelain served a completely different purpose. They were used as logos or trademarks which would allow identification of the manufacturer. Therefore, it's pointless to try identifying the age of your item by the mark. You can do this only with non-antique porcelain made later in the 20th century.
Differentiate the design. The design painted on a piece can also tell you about the when and where of a particular porcelain piece. For example, the dragon is associated in China with the union of earth and heaven, as well as the power of the imperial government. A porcelain piece decorate with a dragon was probably designed by potter in China or elsewhere in Asia.
An overview of Chinese porcelain. The development of Chinese porcelain was influenced by China's economy and the trends of overseas markets. During the Yuan, Song and early Ming dynasties (10th - 16th centuries) most of the porcelain production was export oriented. In the Qing dynasty some Chinese porcelain was made specifically for export and was not used in China itself. That is why our market is rich with wide range of Chinese porcelain pieces.