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Help identifying ornate chinese soup bowl spoon.

by Jeremiah Thompson
(Seattle, Washington, USA)

Ok, so I'm really puzzled on this one. I"m not sure on the seal, couldn't find it in the database I checked. This spoon has quite a bit of rust spots on the back, and the craziest part is part of the floral design is a pale translucent green.

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Feb 18, 2011
rice pattern
by: Barry

Embedded rice is a myth. Rice grain pattern is cut from the unfired porcelain and filled with glaze, hence the translucent effect.

Jun 24, 2010
by: peter

In picture 3 you have three small round spots, two on the right, one on the left. It looks as if the lower right one is broken off, or is it just not darkened?
You have two more such spots at the same height on the handle back. Is it this what you mean with "rust spots"?
They arent rust spots despite the color, just soiling, probably.

I don't know how these little protrusions are called in English, but the Chinese call them Ruding. You will often find them on the glazed bottom of vessels (teapots, etc.).

They are needed for firing because the bottom is glazed. If they weren't there the glaze would directly be in touch with the ground or shelf and get soiled. So, its purpose is just keeping the unfired glaze off the ground.

The reason that there are two on the handle also is that for firing many of the spoons were stacked to save space. With the spoons there will be many put one on the other, not individually placed on the floor or shelf. Here too the Ruding's purpose is to keep the distance from the other items in the kiln, and protect the glaze.

The green oval, transparent decoration are embedded rice grains. If you do an image search on Google for "Chinese Blue and White Rice Pattern" you will find many pictures of such items, old and new. New ones are still commonly available now.

As what concerns the mark, I'm afraid this is a stamped mark. This type of red stamped marks was only used widely from the second half of the 19th century. This mark may have been used until the republican period.

Please be aware that from the Gunagxu period to the republican period a great wave (or rather flood?) of copying of patterns, marks, etc. was going on with huge quantities of copies and imitations of earlier ceramics being made.
Many of those items have antique value today, though.
The marks most commonly copied then were the Qianlong and Kangxi marks, as far as I know. This specific mark exludes that the spoon is a Qianlong period spoon, in my opinion.
It probably will be from the late Qing to the Republic, but I would not not exclude a later production. Difficult to tell with items that were manufactured over a very long time.

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