Help please Chinese blue & white beaker vase identification

by Barry
(UK)

Hi Peter,

This fine blue and white beaker vase has many attributes to Kangxi vases but would really appreciate your trained eye to give an opinion as to a period or date.

The features which I feel align the vase to Kangxi are the neat rounded footrim form being finely levigated and marble smooth to the touch. The slight concave nature to the inner side of the footrim. A neat finish to the glaze at the footrim.

The thin white glaze which clearly shows the potters hands have created it. The precise and deliberate painting of the banding either side of the middle bulge.
The painting and shading of the blue rocks, mountains and trees. The water depicted with horizontal lines.

The hues of the blue on all the Kangxi porcelain I have handled has varied from sapphire to dark blues. Quality is also varied. Now my opinion is not a Kangxi vase, how can it be there is no damage, not a chip. Although I have seen and handled Kangxi without damage at top auction houses. So is it 19th century or later?

I am learning about Chinese porcelain but must admit to really knowing much more about 18th century English porcelain and pride myself at recognizing factories and dating it to within a few years quite easily. Quality changed over very short periods of 5 to 10 years.

Many thanks Barry

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Beaker vase
by: Barry

Thanks Peter,

Sometimes things look too good to be true. This vase just looked right to me but could not bring myself to believe it. The tree you mentioned has no leaves. I will get a closer picture and add it to the post.

I have also handled and owned many fine 18th century Worcester pieces which if you showed them to a novice would say brand new. In fact they look brand new but I know they are correct just never used but prized by there owners. We have to remember that here in the West at this period porcelain was white gold and expensive.

Regards Barry

vase
by: peter

Hi Barry,
This is what we here call a Gu vase. I see you have already considered all the essential points.

There is a tree in the lower part which seems to have no leaves. The image is a bit too small to be sure, but if it is true, then this is another point voting for Kangxi.

It is not impossible that there is no damage or few age signs at all are present. A lot of the export porcelain I handle looks new, without any scratches, as if it never was used. In comparison, items made for use in China often look scratched and/or have blemishes. I think the reason is that the people buying such items in the west were using them for display only. Some may never have been moved around for a very long time. Export porcelain made in the 18th century and Guangxu reign generally also give the impression as if they were of better quality than the porcelain made for China's domestic use.

An item like yours will still be classified as Kangxi, probably, although there always will be some people who remain suspicious. When all points of reference are right and an item is spotless clean and intact...we may just have to accept that as a fact when an item in the best state. I have seen it happen - an expert looking at an almost perfect item, almost too good to be true, trying to find anything that could debunk it as fake or later made item, but he found nothing.
As the foot rim looks right for Kangxi, the item is likely just an exceptionally fine piece.

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