Chinese dragon plate

by Michel Pharand
(Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

I would very much appreciate any information about the age and value of my hexagonal Chinese plate (see 3 photos) depicting a green dragon and red sun. Measurements (inches): 7 and 1/8 across; each side is 4 and 1/8; depth of circular rim on back is 1/4. Many thanks!

Michel Pharand, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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Comments for Chinese dragon plate

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Many thanks!
by: Michel Pharand

Dear Snap & Peter,

Thank you so much for your helpful comments! Very much appreciated. Original or reproduction, Chinese or Japanese, it's a lovely item and a fine display piece.

All best wishes,


by: Snap

The item you call a 'sun' is supposed to represent the flaming pearl (or jewel) of immortality that almost always accompanies decorations of dragons in Chinese wares, items made for the Chinese market, and contemporary imitations no matter where made.

I share Peter's doubts about this piece because the flaming-pearl is not drawn at all in the Chinese manner, and a Japanese company would be quite aware of how to depict it as well.

Other elements of the decoration are in a not-quite-right category as well; the 3-pronged items around the dragon, supposed to represent flames, do not have the fluidity of an experienced painter, and the shaded blobby elements among the flames (supposed to represent clouds) are awkward as well. The arrow-like items around the inside of the dish are supposed to imitate a motif derived from the French fleur-de-lis which often appeared in export wares of the 18th and 19th centuries, but here they are not rendered in any detail.

While as a whole the motifs are better drawn than on a lot of simulations, they are not convincing if you know what to look for.

dragon plate
by: peter

Hi Michel,

I have difficulties attributing this plate for several reasons. The shape of the foot rim looks similar as a rim from the 18th century, but in these pictures it appears much higher than such Chinese rims. The hexagonal shape does exist, but is not frequent (octagonal plates are more common).

The type of rim decoration is not clearly visible, but the shape of the dragon tail, head and the style of the scales make it look like a late Qing dynasty or early republic dragon.
I think the age cannot be older than that if it is Chinese.

In my view there is a possibility that this is Japanese instead. Cannot be sure, though, I'm afraid.

As to value, we don't talk about value here as it is relative to many factors. Please refer to "Value of Antiques" in the left menu.

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