Chinese Export Armorial Plates, ca. 1735
Appraised Value: $14,000 - $18,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:43)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: Well, I was fortunate enough to inherit them from my grandmother, and they were always on her sideboard, and now they're on my sideboard.
APPRAISER: They're on your sideboard now. Now, what do you think they are?
GUEST: I really do not know. I think they're Chinese.
GUEST: But I don't know.
APPRAISER: These are a pair of what we call Chinese export armorial plates. Now, armorial stands, actually, for the large coat of arms which is painted in the center here. And armorial porcelain, which was ordered in China, really comes into fashion just about 1710. These happen to be for the English market, and they were ordered by a particular family to show off. When they sent these great clipper ships to China to pick up other goods, they would order these enormous services and then have the Chinese workmen actually make these types of plates. Now, these are probably early, what we call Yung Cheng Period, and you can tell that they're early mostly because you can see that they haven't really gotten a handle on the red enamels here, and the red enamels are a little... a little what we call fugitive, but they make a marvelous floral spray as you go around it. Now, as you go to the inner border here, this is called "rouge de fer" or "iron red," and also you have these Chinese symbols here, which are called the "ba jixiang," which are the eight Buddhist symbols. Now, they actually show two of the eight symbols, each one done twice. Now, the Chinese would never have represented only two. They would... for good fortune, they would always represent all eight of them. So this is kind of a dig; basically saying, "Hey, you really don't know what you're ordering, but it looks really good." And actually, if you notice in the middle of the armorial it is split, which means that it actually has two separate families that are being joined together. These date from probably 1730 to 1740. The demand for them in the very beginning was not particularly strong, but as the demand grew, they couldn't afford to do all of this hand painting anymore, and so the borders become narrower, the decoration becomes skimpier and it becomes much more generic. This is the great age of armorial porcelain and they're in remarkable condition. No stacking wear, and they're actually very large. We would call these large plates. These would not be dinner plates. Very rare to have a pair, very rare to have them in good condition, and these you just don't find anymore. Probably the pair together would be worth around $14,000 to $18,000.
GUEST: My goodness.
APPRAISER: A terrific pair of Chinese export plates.
GUEST: Well, thank you so much.
APPRAISER: Thank you.
GUEST: My husband told me they were going to be fake, so...
APPRAISER: Oh, yeah? He did? (laughing)
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