Chinese Enameled Porcelain Vase, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $12,000 - $15,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:38)
GUEST: Well, it's been in my family for as long as I can remember. I remember going down to Brownsville, and seeing it at my grandmother's house. But I'm not sure exactly how it came into the family.
APPRAISER: And do you have any idea as to its age?
GUEST: No, I know it's nice because you can put your finger and you can feel the paint or whatever, the enamel that's on it. So that tells me I think it's a little bit nicer than the ordinary vase.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, let's start with the material. In this case, it's a porcelain. The enamelware overall is not the tightest work, but it's well enameled. And when we refer to tight work, we're basically referring to have they enameled within the lines? This is painted enamel, and in a Moriagi. That's a Japanese term for in-relief, and then it's fired. In this, you'll see a yellow ground. Enameled Indian lotus flowers. These ruyi or Lingzhi, which is an auspicious mushroom form color to the vase. These are a wonderful scrolling leaf to the flowers. The Indian lotus flower showing here. Now, alternating this yellow ground are these figural form cartouches. These are celestial landscapes or celestial, figural groupings. Scholars within rockwork. Ladies of beauty in a garden. So, typical Chinese themes. Now, there are some signs of both age and a removal from the very best quality of enamel to porcelain. The enamel here has flaked away. Now, have you recognized a mark or a signature on the piece?
GUEST: Well, I saw the... I think there's a Chinese mark on the bottom of the vase.
APPRAISER: This mark would indicate that it is a Chinese vase. This is a Qian Long mark. It's a mark that corresponds to an 18th-century dynasty. The very best jades were from the 18th century, the Qian Long period. The very best porcelains were from the Qian Long period. And those porcelains from the Qian Long period command the very highest prices at auction today.
GUEST: That's always a good thing.
APPRAISER: However, this is a late 19th century, early 20th century vase. The reason we know this, firstly this mark is in an iron red overglaze. Had this been an 18th century vase, it's likely that it would have been a blue underglaze. The 18th century seals that are in overglaze, in relief, are often on a turquoise ground, not a white porcelain foot like this. 18th century vases have a very thin foot rim with exposed porcelain. So this would indicate to me that this is a late 19th, early 20th century Republic period vase.
APPRAISER: Classically, the form is not an 18th century form. The mark is not done to fake, but it's in homage, or in regard to, the high point of Chinese works of art. Its likely starting life was as a pair. But often these pairs over 80 years become singles. Now we come to value. In a retail setting, this vase would carry a price tag of $12,000 to $15,000.
GUEST: Wow. (laughing) That's more than I thought. Thank you.
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