that contain the name of a Chinese dynasty or the reign names of
Chinese emperors (a reign mark) may hint to the period of production,
but are really quite unreliable due to the frequent use of non-period
marks, that is marks of an earlier reign or period in which an item was
It is known that some marks of the early Ming dynasty can be found on porcelain made later in the Ming dynasty. Even porcelain of the early Qing dynasty frequently shows reign marks bearing the name of Ming emperors. In the late Qing dynasty and republican era the reign marks of earlier Qing periods often were added with the intention to increase the perceived value of the porcelain.
An overall judgment of the porcelain piece is always necessary to verify if its real age and period mark fit together.
In the table below the reign name is listed and the duration is shown in western years. In reality, with imperial year notation the year count started again with year 'one', each time a new emperor was enthroned.
comparing the Chinese characters used in the marks of ceramics, the
emperor's reign names for the Ming and Qing dynasties are given in
Chinese on the following page:
Chinese emperors' reign names (in Chinese)
Please note that the imperial year notation using the reign name of the specific Chinese emperors and the year in which something happened during that reign was the most common way of recording history, events, etc. in ancient China.
This was not limited to ceramics and their marks.