19th-Century Monumental Japanese Vase
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $8,000 (2006)
$6,000 - $8,000 (2014)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:39)
Lark Mason & Associates
GUEST: It came from my Great-Aunt May's house in Philadelphia. My immediate family have had it since 1972-ish.
GUEST: And it just came from a house that was just full of antiques.
APPRAISER: The first thing that strikes one about this obviously is the size. It's monumental. And the tradition of making monumental porcelain vases began in China. And most recently, one finds that these were made in the early 18th century, and they were made for European nobility. The European nobles would put them in their palaces, and these came to be called palace vases or soldier vases, because they lined the halls, one after another, like soldiers at attention. Now, by the end of the 18th century, that was out of fashion. But Japan, by the late 19th century, had been in contact with the West, and they were interested in producing goods and products for export to the West. So they're made of porcelain, very large, going back to the tradition of these made in China, but meant to really capture the public's imagination and to show the skill and the incredible fine-quality workmanship of the Japanese artisans. It's a very large landscape design that is continuous, typical of Japanese art, but the fine quality of the painting is really extraordinary-- all hand done. Now, when you came in, this was not one piece, was it?
GUEST: No, it wasn't.
APPRAISER: This, actually, is in two pieces.
GUEST: Yes, it is.
APPRAISER: Right? And it's heavy. To make this on a wheel in one piece is just not possible. It would have collapsed from the weight. So they had to make it in two pieces. Now, when it was put together, there was a small amount of glaze there put back into the kiln, fired again and that provided just enough of an adhesive so that when someone lifted it, it wouldn't fall off. Now, at some time in the history of this vase, someone decided to lift it, and I'm going to be very careful when I put this back, so we don't break anything. Someone decided to lift it this way, and it popped apart. Does that damage the value? No. This is the fault line that was always there, and it could be made to be attached again. Do you need to do that? No, you don't. It's probably worth around $6,000 to $8,000. So pretty good value for a soldier vase.
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