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In the late Ming dynasty in the 17th century, Dehua wares were creamy in tone, but by the 19th century, these had became more ivory and white. Also during the Ming dynasty, the kilns at Jingdezhen in the south of China produced most of the blue and white ceramics.

Identify Your Antique Pottery and Porcelain Marks With This Easy Guide.

They may not have an original example to copy, relying instead on photographs in auction catalogues or books, and these don't always include images of the base. This decorative element changed a lot over the centuries. This inadvertently gave texture, energy and shading to the design and was highly admired in the 18th century. Chinese potters subsequently mastered the technique of firing blue and white wares to achieve a more even cobalt-blue tone. But the tone varied from one dynasty to the next. During the Wanli period , for example, blue and white wares often had a greyish-blue tone, while in the Jiajing period , the tone was almost purplish-blue.

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The shape of ceramics also evolved. Song dynasty ceramics, for example, were often inspired by nature and foliate in form. Chinese ceramics are also well known for their beautiful proportions. A vase or bowl that looks out of proportion is an indication that a neck or mouth has been ground down. A guan -type tri-lobed double-gourd-form vase, Qianlong six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period What makes the condition of a ceramic acceptable or otherwise depends on whether or not it is Imperial-quality and when it was made.

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For example, on a non-Imperial porcelain vessel made in the 17th century — such as a Kraak ware charger — you would expect to see some kiln grit or kiln dust on the base and perhaps a firing flaw that would have occurred in the kiln. Both would be acceptable. A rare large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, bianhu , Yongzheng six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period However, you would not expect to find these kind of flaws on an 18th-century Imperial mark and period ceramic, because the firing techniques would have been refined.

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Fifteen years ago, only mint-condition mark and period ceramics would have been considered acceptable. Now, however, collectors will consider ceramics that have been broken and restored, or which have hairline cracks. Reign marks state the dynasty and the name of the emperor for which an item was made, and were used on all ceramics made for the emperor and his imperial household. Do not rely on a reign mark to establish the age of a piece, however.

Marks were often copied and can be apocryphal.

Museum number Franks. Description Porcelain bottle with garlic-bulb-shaped mouth, toffee-coloured glaze and white slip decoration. This bottle has a garlic-bulb-shaped mouth and stand on a low foot ring. Covered with a rich toffee-coloured glaze, is is further decorated with highly stylized flowering plants painted in an unctuous white slip on both sides.

Collecting guide: 10 things you need to know about Chinese ceramics

The base is glazed toffee brown. Production date circa. Production place Made in: Jingdezhen.

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Materials porcelain. Ware Zhangzhou Export Ware.

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Technique slip-painted glazed. Dimensions Diameter: 22 centimetres Height: Curator's comments Harrison-Hall In China, this combination of a toffee-brown ground and contrasting white slip decoration was introduced in the Wanli period. Painting in slip on a monochrome ground was a technique popular in the Near East, at Kirman in Iran, in the seventeenth century.