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Blue and white 'dragon' baluster vase and cover

by Chris
(Gloucester, Glos, UK)

Dear Peter
This vase seems unusual, it has 'gold' metal inlaid rims to the foot, the neck and on the edge of the lid (not gilt or painted). I've not seen another like it nor can I find any similar by doing an extensive Google picture search.

The mark on the bottom is Shunzhi though as you often say this may not be correct.

The vase glaze is crazed, and has yellowed in the cracks.

What are your thoughts on age and uniqueness.

Many thanks

Comments for Blue and white 'dragon' baluster vase and cover

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Dec 18, 2012
by: Zen Dragon

Its a copy, circa 1950s. Its the wrong type of paint
along with the clay being incorrect. The interior of the
rim is incorrect and has no age, the piece was most likely
fired twice once under low temperatures then high to produce
a more worn look on the design. Keep looking though
Genuine works do turn up.

Oct 20, 2011
metal fittings
by: Anonymous

The thing that I wonder about is 'Why put ormolu on a fake?'
That is a good question. But, the question is whether the fittings are new or old.

The simpler metal braces were also made in the republican period, sometimes in combination with lamp fittings.
The one shown in the picture looks as if there were solder on the ring. Is there? That would mean it is likely more recent.

I'm a bit puzzled by the ring at the neck, though. That is unusual and indeed seems to confirm that the metal rings should give the item a "better" image.

Oct 20, 2011
by: Anonymous

Hi Chris and Peter,

I think this item is an imitation. There are too many inconsistencies. A brief check on Sotheby's and Christie's websites showed up only one photo of Shunzhi seal mark, and it was fairly sloppily written. Usually Shuzhi items are not marked. This seal was too neatly overdone.

The brownish irregular color throughout is another sign of its inferior quality. The style of dragon decoration should shed more light on the period by experts.

Oct 19, 2011
Fake protection
by: Chris

Dear Peter

Thank you for your very fast reply and thoughts. I hear what you are saying about the elements that suggest that this vase could be a fake.

The thing that I wonder about is 'Why put ormolu on a fake?' (thanks for letting me know what the metal bands are called)

My first thought is for the maker to make it appear valuable. My second is that the owner added the ormolu as they though it valuable. Or it is valuable!

Can you send any links to photos with ormolu bands similar to the 'plain' ormolu on this vase - I am having a hard time to find a similar example, even with a Google picture search.

Many thanks

Oct 18, 2011
temple jar
by: peter

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the additional pictures.
I don't think it is Shunzhi. The dragon doesn't seem right for that, and the blue color has me doubting too. The dragon could perhaps be a 19th century one, but then again, the crackling looks suspicious. As if it were artificially (intentionally) made.
The glaze doesn't convince me that it is very old. A Shunzhi mark, a 19th century dragon and a glaze/crackling that looks recent.
Basically, it either is 19th century, or it is a relatively new fake, in my view.
I would recommend to ask for a second opinion.

Oct 18, 2011
Additional photos
by: Chris

Dear Peter

Thank you so much for your comments. Very much appreciated.

I've popped some more photos onto Photobucket as you suggest.
password: ormolu

The original photo showed up brownish because I used bounce flash, and the closeup was direct flash.
I've used direct flash on all the other photos.

I look forward to hearing yours and others comments.

Oct 18, 2011
temple jar
by: peter

Chris, I think this is a "temple jar".
Regarding the metal fittings, if you use Google to search for "ormolu", you will find that such metal fittings were quite usual. They were normally added in Europe and European items often have them also. This was probably only affordable for the upper classes at the time.

Why is it that the enlargement shows such a bright blue and white, and the rest is brown?
If you want me to look at this, I would suggest to upload a couple of closeups or, alternatively, post large, high-resolution picture on Photobucket or a similar site. Then post the link.
This blog doesn't allow for larger images, unfortunately.

What is of interest for a closer view is the whole bottom, a partial, close view of the footrim (better from an angle than straight above), but really close. Then the head and tip of the tail of the dragon. If possible a look at the inside, just below the top edge. Any blemishes should be visible.

I'm not sure if I can help, if it is really Shunzhi, but I will try. I haven't seen many pieces of that period.
Anyway, the jar is a bit off the standard shape, although it should still be all right, but the crackles look a bit suspicious. It could have been made later.
BTW, the dragon is important because it changed over time and may indicate or confirm a certain period.

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