Commenting is deactivated.

Please post all new topics and queries to the Discussion Forum

Comments for Butterfly vase

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 23, 2011
vase mark
by: peter

Hi Joel,
As I mentioned, this is a Xuantong mark meaning "Made in the Xuantong reign of the great Qing" (Da Qing Xuan-tong Nianzhi).
If I were you and had this vase(s), I would try to get a valuation/appraisal.

What I would suggest is to try first to get a valuation from They are low-cost and a first step. However, you will need larger pictures with good resolution and all details clearly visible. They won't check authenticity, but likely will mention it in their valuation.

The problem with this sort of item is that it is difficult to tell online if it is genuine or a high-class fake. Therefore, in the end you would better show it to someone for a hands-on inspection, perhaps. But, you could still get a couple of more opinions online, first.

If you afterwards could take it to Bonhams or another large auction house on their inspection day, they would probably have a ceramics expert look at it, giving you a more reliable opinion.

Although I have given you the reading of the mark, above, please don't fall into the trap of wanting to decide the value or age by the mark.
The mark is irrelevant for deciding age and authenticity. It is the last thing looked at, unlike with European porcelain.

If your vase is authentic and from the period, then it HAS value.
But, there aren't that many people (collectors) who have been able to handle enough items of that sort, so asking just anyone knowledgeable in Chinese ceramics will not necessarily do. You need someone with experience with this class of items, and I recommended auction houses like Bonhams, etc., because they have the specialists who probably have lots of experience with these sort of item.
From my books with auction results I know that this type of vases has been traded at auctions.
It is best to first check authenticity by having someone look at the real thing.

Aug 23, 2011
Butterfly vases
by: Joel

I was Living in Hong Kong in 1969 and bought a pair of Butterfly Vases 15 1/2 inches tall at Yee Wha's Chinese Arts & crafts stores antique dept, I got a certificate with the purchase but have since lost it. I lived in HK for 23 years and I never saw another pair like it. There is a ever so slight difference in the two vases. There's characters on the bottom but honestly I never had any one read them.

Jan 17, 2011
butterfly vase
by: peter

Sorry John,
Your previous post went under. The blog got too many submissions.

I have two similar butterfly vases in my Chinese books. At least one of them has been on auction in China a couple of years ago. Both have Guangxu marks. The style of the mark of yours is the same, only the reign name is different.
Xuantong was the reign following the Guangxu reign and lasted only about three years. The number of items produced during this time cannot be large, nor could it have its own styles. It is said that many items with Xuantong marks were actually made in the early republican era immediately following it. Personally I believe this would likely have been in one of the following three years at the most. Basically, they could have used a Guangxu mark as well, if it had been after the Xuantong period. But, they didn't...
We cannot know for sure if an item with a Xuantong mark was made during that short Xuantong reign or shortly afterwards unless there is some supporting evidence for or against it.

I'm afraid all I can tell you is that the mark is written in the same style as Guangxu marks of similar vases, but instead of Guangxu the reign is Xuantong.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Butterfly vase.

Return to Ask a question or contribute - archived 2011.