Ming Porcelain

Ming porcelain is always worth a small fortune. Such a bold statement and so wrong. It is however, a view very commonly held. Why is it incorrect?

To begin with the Ming Dynasty lasted from 1386 to 1644, which is almost 300 years, a very long time to produce an awful lot of pots. But an enormous amount of Ming porcelain is poor quality, provincially produced and naively painted and this together with the fact that they have no reign mark, adversely affects their value.

Taking the “reign” mark a step further, for a piece to have high value it must be a “mark” and “period” piece. The mark is the reign mark on a piece and is composed of symbols that denote emperors. These marks can easily be researched and identified.

The problem is the period. The habit of putting earlier reign marks on Chinese porcelain is common and was practiced for hundreds of years. It is not unusual, therefore, to find an 18th century item with a 15th century mark.

An item made during the reign of the emperor whose mark is on the base is referred to as “mark and period” and the value is often increased twofold or threefold. Better quality pieces which are mark and period are very much rarer than the provincial Ming and are highly prized by collectors.

These highly prized pieces are highly priced and that is the sort of piece people refer to when they ask expectantly “is it Ming?”

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Ming Porcelain

The Ming Dynasty lasted for nearly 300 years, from 1386 to 1644, which is a long time by anybody’s standards. During the dynasty mountains and mountains of porcelain was produced.

Why then is all Ming porcelain so valuable, or is it?

The short answer is no it is not and the short explanation I will now try. Firstly an enormous amount of Ming porcelain is poor quality, provincially produced and naively painted and this together with the fact that they have no reign mark, adversely affects their value.

Taking the “reign” mark a step further, for a piece to have high value it must be a “mark” and “period” piece. The mark is the reign mark on a piece and is composed of symbols that denote emperors. These marks can easily be researched and identified.

The problem is the period. The habit of putting earlier reign marks on Chinese porcelain is common and was practiced for hundreds of years. It is not unusual, therefore, to find an 18th century item with a 15th century mark.

An item made during the reign of the emperor whose mark is on the base is referred to as “mark and period” and the value is often increased twofold or threefold. Better quality pieces which are mark and period are very much rarer than the provincial Ming and are highly prized by collectors.

These highly prized pieces are highly priced and that is the sort of piece people refer to when they ask expectantly “is it Ming?”

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Netsuke

Netsuke were tiny sculptures used as toggles on traditional Japanese dress. As the kimono had no pockets, men would hang their tobacco pouches, purses and other things needed on a regular basis on a cord passed behind the obi (sash). The netsuke sat at the end of the cord preventing it from slipping through the obi. All parts of Japanese life and culture were captured by netsuke with
whimsical depictions, mythical beasts and true to life portraits. They were carved from ivory, bone and wood and were made for over three hundred years from the 16th century.

NETSUKE

By the end of the 19th century fashions and clothing began to change and demand for netsuke as purely practical items declined. Many of the talented masters of netsuke carving then moved onto making okimono. These were larger wood or ivory sculptures made as works of art and souvenirs with very similar themes to netsuke.

Netsuke became collectable during the 19th century and this encouraged the production of fakes. Fakes can be identified in a number of ways, for example, the hole through which the cord was threaded may be missing, they may appear too uniform in size or lack the signs of regular use and wear.

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An authentic ivory piece would have irregular fine veins running through it, while the fake, if made from moulded resin, would have parallel lines and a pale creamy colour. Those made from resin are often too rounded and lack the fine detail and quality carving, in extreme cases staining or even dirt may have been added for effect. However, the most obvious difference is how they feel; ivory is cold and heavy to touch compared to the resin of fakes which is warm and lightweight.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website