Western & Chinese Dating

Chinese dating

Currently, dating in China is largely based on two methods: one is on production features, in other words, it is source-based, dependent on the manufacturing location, the kiln, where research can be done based on mounds of kiln waste, etc.. The other is end or target based – excavation of burial sites - untouched (no grave robbery committed) are like time capsules. The custom of putting a number or burial objects allow dating of ceramics based on other objects with a known age or period. Epitaphs with detailed, dated personal or family data, etc. are most convenient, if present.

Transport related dating based on shipwreck finds is available but more limited in number.

Information/Knowledge based mainly on:

  1. Museum items consisting mainly of imperial and a few private collections
  2. Archaeological excavations of kiln sites and/or ancient tombs
  3. Shipwreck items

The general impression is that apart from the well documented imperial collections, exact dating of 'domestic use' porcelain is more difficult. The trading of export porcelain was not well documented, by both either kilns or traders in China.

Western dating

  1. Based on well documented pre-20th century collections
  2. VOC logs - ship logs or the logs from Batavia, the Dutch trading center in SE Asia (these allow more exact dating)
  3. Shipwreck items from only newer wrecks (18th/19th centuries) with documented foundering dates allow exact dating.
    Unknown wrecks can be used for dating of Chinese ceramics if other objects (e.g. bronze items or Thai/Vietnamese ceramics of known age/date) are also found in the same cargo.

Porcelain Age Signs

search by keyword