cobalt blue colors variations

by r Cowper
(australia)

Peter, On reading some of your commentaries on the coloration of ming vases and general ware I wondered if it is right to assume that all the vase decoration shown on an item should all be of the same colour intensity ie the same depth of colour and not two separate colours of light and dark blue? I asl this because the other day I saw a vase for sale where the colours differed. Although the foliation was uniform deep blue all over the vase the decorative circles and triangles at the middle and the base were of a much lighter colour. I own a ming vase which has distinct colours but each color used has the same depth and quality as if it wre adorned with each colour from the same batch of paint when it was fired, but the one I saw the other looks as if the drawer stopped and went away to get a new lighter color blue for the different floraslc decoration at the middle and the base. Ihave tried in my own naieve way to use some of your thinkings on deliberate forgeries and wondered if I were heading in the right direction to reason that the vase I saw made me suspicious and besides this the vase I saw looked just to good and new, surely over the passage of time all colors take on a worn desicated look after all these things are supposed to be centuries old?

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Mar 27, 2011
Fake items
by: Kenny

(edited by admin)
In Singkawang (Indonesia) were I live, there about about 5 kilns who produce ceramics like those in the former/ancient kilns in china; they used the same techniques, and fire them with wood. About 2 decades ago they produced a lot of fakes, very similar to the jars originating in China. And they sold them everywhere, theywere also exported them to many countries. Some 3 months ago an old lady wanted to sell me all her collection. She believed that all of her collection was from China, so I showed the photos to a friend of mine who was working in one of the kilns. He could tell me which jars were made by whom in the the 80s. So the conclusion is, the mixture of the glaze makes a difference, for example the mixtures of glazes used in the past cannot be made at present. There were some mixtures using 'jade'(green stone). In the kilns nowadays they don't have these, so they can not reproduce items in the same way. So I agree with Peter, that every period has it own color. Btw, a fake product/item also has it value. Like (for example) I have a fake red Ming product. The original can be US $ 20.000, but a good fake we can be sold for US $ 2.000.

Regards,
Kenny

Mar 26, 2011
blue tones
by: peter

Hi,
>On reading some of your commentaries on the >coloration of ming vases and general ware
I don't remember having commented anywhere on Ming vases in general... :-(

>wondered if it is right to assume that all the >vase decoration shown on an item should all be >of the same colour intensity ie the same depth >of colour and not two separate colours of light >and dark blue?
No. The color depends on the period. For example, with Kangxi blue and white, four or five different blue tones are used to create depth. Such porcelain can have quite a good 3D effect. But, Ming blue and whites, or those later in the Qing dynasty don't necessarily (or rather hardly) display the same depths. Kangxi items are best known for this effect.

>I own a ming vase which has distinct colours but >each color used has the same depth and quality >as if it were adorned with each colour from the >same batch of paint when it was fired, but the >one I saw the other day looks as if the drawer >stopped and went away to get a new lighter color >blue for the different floral decoration at the >middle and the base.
I can't imagine how that looks, exactly, I'm afraid. I know only one way to make the blue lighter, but it doesn't mean exactly a different blue is used. The blue pigment is applied in a more diluted form, making it lighter, that's all. Another method that might give a similar effect is the way of application, that is not by painting in strokes but rather making a lot of fine dots instead.

>the vase I saw looked just to good and new, >surely over the passage of time all colors take >on a worn desicated look after all these things >are supposed to be centuries old?
No, basically not. As long as the glaze is intact the color should remain the same, even after three of four centuries. The glaze and clay body itself will show age signs, though, especially if they are from the Ming dynasty or earlier. But, these should still not affect the color of the underglaze blue.
The color is affected with shipwreck items, or if something has been buried in the soil a long time, as other elements may seep into the glaze.

However, the tone of the blue color is different from period to period, sometimes within the same reign. It depends also on the kiln which made it. There are at least six different mineral pigments of blue known to have been used. Sometimes they were mixed, thus creating different tones of blue or gray.

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