Porcelain Age Faking
are really too many porcelain age faking methods to describe them all.
It is recommended that the serious collector obtains a reference book on
porcelain faking to get a detailed overview on the major known methods.
This will be of some help in cases of doubt.
Below I list a number of points related to age faking that you
should pay attention to when obtaining ceramics from unfamiliar
How to avoid buying a fake
List of possibly faked elements to watch for:
Age faking methods employed:
- artificial (painted) rust spots
- prickling of glaze with a tool
- scrubbing of glaze to reduce its shine
- immersing in acid
- even immersing ceramics in urine is reported
- brushing on a petroleum/tar mixture
- using soil, etc. from ancient graves
- refiring at low temperature
- smoking porcelain
- burying porcelain in soil
- exposure of ceramics to X-rays is reported
Look out for the following suspicious signs:
- glaze too shiny for its age (note: before the late Qing dynasty the
glaze was more mellow; it would not be so reflective as to be miroring
- glaze too dull
- no scratches or crazing at all even after centuries
- foot rim too dark or dirty
- unglazed collar of lidded jars appears too dark
- too many dark spots (sprinkled) over body, glaze or bottom
- dirty, unclean look
- artificially added damage, like chips or breaks
- fake staple repair (new repair)
- old bottom but shiny glaze without any scratches
- bottom firing color or glaze wrong
More difficult to identify:
- Decoration color not right for period
(the color or underglaze blue is wrong for a specific period.
Imported blue pigments were not available at times due to prohibition of
overseas trading; local blue pigments had a different blue tone. Some
decoration colors did not exist until later in the Qing dynasty.)
- Wrong decoration
The decoration content and its elements varied from period to
period. The decorative design and the "musts-and-must-nots" of
decoration were at times strictly regulated. Easier to identify
differences are the eyes of people. They were painted differently during
- Old ceramic body with new decoration
color seems not right for an item's age. The decoration was added more
recently on an old piece with no or little decoration, to increase its
- Old bottom and new body
fakers know that the bottom is important for deciding age. They attach
an old bottom to a new body. Always also check the body glaze for age
signs. The ceramic body itself might be new! more
- Transplanting the mark
A genuine old period mark is cut (from a shard, presumably) and embedded in the bottom of another piece.
- Discoloration or soil covering part or all
This shall make you believe the item was buried in the soil for a
long time, i.e. that it was excavated. If an items was buried in soil
for hundreds of years, it may be difficult or impossible to clean all
the soil off completely. Low temperature firing is used to make new soil
stick to the ceramic body to fake age.
An ageing effect is reached by exposing a new ceramic item to smoke.
- Burying ceramic items
An ageing effect is reached by burying new ceramics for some time in the soil.
- Fake sediment and maritime growth on shipwreck porcelain
Yes, even these are faked. Hard maritime growth is glued to ceramics and pottery to obtain fake shipwreck ceramics. more
- Bubbles wrong
Bubbles direction - manufacturing was not done in terms of single items
in Chinese ceramics production, but in large batches. The bubbles of an item that usually would be thrown on the wheel should show a more horizontal direction. If there are vertical strings of bubbles, that 'could' mean modern mass production methods using molds. more
were no mass production methods existing at the time, items were
manually formed one by one. Round items were thrown (turned), while
rectangular and other shapes, were formed in moulds using the hands. Rectangular items may be uneven, figurines may show finger imprints on the inside, where the clay was pressed into the mold. Even preparing
(kneading) the clay was done using manual or semi-manual methods.
Knowing more about the ancient production methods allows easier detection of porcelain age faking.
|A tip: |
The most important part when deciding age is always the bottom. Every collector or expert will always look at the bottom to check for age signs. The forgers know this. Their porcelain age faking methods will always put the most effort into either creating a fake old-looking bottom or they attach an old bottom (from excavated shards) to a new body. In doing so, however, they often neglect the importance of the glaze, etc. for judging age. It may look much newer than the bottom. Keep this in mind when checking a piece for signs of porcelain age faking.
From Porcelain Age Faking back to Fake Porcelain
Go to Porcelain Age Signs
Return to Antique Chinese Porcelain Home Page