Fake antique porcelain items made in China are currently flooding the world (and China itself too).
Unsuspecting buyers everywhere purchase these items. The expert recognizes many of them easily as fake, but high-level fakes sometimes are difficult to recognize even by specialists.
It has gone so far that the fake antiques sometimes are accompanied by a fake certificate to indicate authenticity. This is in no way limited to porcelain or antiques, anything that brings a profit is copied and sold as an original or antique item.
You should wonder how they can export so many antiques under these circumstances, today. The answer is really very obvious:
While a few genuine antiques may still slip through customs, the bulk is just newer reproductions and fakes. Look at the websites claiming they make or export antiques. Would you believe...?
Nice to know that supply will never end!
This is not meant to point to any specific seller -- just... we need to be careful all the time nowadays when it comes to Chinese antiques of any type.
At the beginning, a number of years ago, I heard importers in Taiwan recount how they were still
available to ship antique items out in containers, but since about ten years ago the
flow has virtually dried out. This has had consequences. Many local antique
buyers consider now items that were made in Taiwan, or vintage* items from hina, that were hand-made, acceptable for collecting. This in turn has
not only lead to a rise in prices of locally made or sold vintage and antique
items, even quality items of non-Chinese origin are getting now rare, because the collectors were forced to shift their interests by the unavailability of Chinese antiques. In the last year or two there has been an acceleration of antique
dealers going out of business because they cannot get any items anymore.
* China now prohibits the export of any cultural artifacts older than 50 years.
Due to the ongoing desire for antiques in China, the flow is now reversed. The Chinese antiques either are bought abroad, or they are directly exported to China by dealers abroad. The antiques exported originally from China are now flowing back to China.
We need to be careful even with Ebay dealers we have known for years. It is always the same story. Originally they dealers had good sources of real antiques, but as China shut off the outflow of antiques, they started obtaining doubtful wares from doubtful sources. (They need to make a living, so they often do not care, or it is more convenient not to care if the items are authentic.)
Much of what is now on the market, both here and in other places, are now made more recently.
We need to pay attention to the white-washing (or laundering) of fake antiques, giving them some status through repeated sales via known dealers or auction houses.
Once they get provenance from these, it is generally accepted that the antiques are authentic.
Occasionally I watch an Antiques Roadshow type TV program from China online. In such shows several of the experts are usually well-known researchers, museum experts or the like. Repeatedly have I heard a ceramics specialist mention that a "specific item that was presented in the show" would have been considered authentic in the west, while they do not think it is...
Since about 2018 ago a specific type of fakes has appeared on the market. I noted these first being offered in Japan, but now the can be seen in Taiwan and the West also. Usually the porcelain on the item is marked, has two or three old-looking paper labels and a wax seal on the bottom. They are mounted on new-looking ormolu bases and may have also have a metal lid/mouth mounted of the same metal.
Some of the labels look really old. But with some it was found by comparing with similar labels that the paper had exactly the same discolorations in the same places. That means the discolorations were printed on the label to fake age of the paper (!). The wax seal does not look like a regular wax seal either. The spelling and direction of writing is sometimes wrong, clearly not what collectors in the west would do. The Chinese fakers obviously do not know that some writing conventions are fixed in the west.