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"Antique" teacup or bowl - how old?

by J.Lim

Dear Peter
Yet a third question, regarding a small cup or bowl.

This one I also bought at auction, but this time it was in fact represented as being antique. It is a dodecagonal teacup of fairly thick body but good resonance.

The outside is decorated with a pattern that puzzles me - it looks like dragon scales or fish scales, scattered here and there with what looks like little fan-shaped flowers.

The inside has a simple grass-like decoration.

The glaze is greyish but is quite shiny. The foot is surprisingly clean aside from one glaze void. However, the inside exhibits signs of age, namely:
- four major rust spots and a couple of smaller ones
- dints in the glaze

Now, I know the mark is of Chenghua and that this is impossible. But is it OK for me to assume that this is a piece from the 19th century? Or should I assume it's brand new? Also, is the pattern of dragon scales??

Thanks once more!!


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Oct 16, 2011
by: peter

Hi, I think you already thought of most possibilities, but I will give you two or three more points.
To me the bottom looks too new. Most Ming items don't look that way. As you already said, it must be newer.
Further, the wave-shaped top rim appears mostly on export porcelain and is less frequent in porcelain made for use in China.
The bottom decoration is a stylization of flower petals (lotus petals, I believe). I have some doubts about this shape appearing in the Ming dynasty, and that the petals are separated. The original shaped petals, at least, were not separate anymore after the Yuan dynasty.

So, is it Qing, modern or ...?
May be Japanese?

I think I see more of Chenghua marks on Japanese porcelain than on Chinese ceramics. And, the pattern would also be possible, including the decoration inside.

Do you think this could be? Looking at these pictures it is just difficult to decide what it is. But again, the blue color and glaze also look unreal ...

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