Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Bath Basin, ca. 1800

Value (2010) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I really don't know a lot about it. It belonged to my uncle, and when he passed away a few years ago, my sister and I inherited the items from his house, and this was one of the things I chose. I just know it's a basin of some kind. I've had people tell me it could be for fish or for your feet, or... I don't really know. Just a wash-basin of some kind.

APPRAISER:
Any idea where it's from?

GUEST:
I believe it may be Chinese.

APPRAISER:
This is Chinese.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
It could be for washing your feet, but more likely it would have been used for bathing children, little kids.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
I'm going to turn this up so that people can see right here in the back is a hole where a plug would go that would let the water out. And also you can see the different motifs. We have the dragons with the waves. You've got fish swimming-- aquatic motifs. And then around the edge you have this Greek key motif. This is porcelain. You can see that from the cream color of the clay and the glaze that's over the surface. The shiny glaze which has kind of a bluish tinge, that's actually a glaze that's a protective covering and it's very thick so that the colors that we are looking at are just as brilliant and attention-grabbing to us as they were for the person that this was made for. One of the ways that we date Chinese porcelain is the basic shape. The other is the color of the blue. And if you look at this, you'll see this kind of washy, rich, inky kind of color. This is typical of the types of color that were used with cobalt from the source that was available at the time between about 1780 and 1810. So I would date it to circa 1800. And the stand, I think, was actually made in the 20th century. It's Asian hardwood, but I believe it's 20th century. A standard bathtub, they're fairly uncommon, they're not extraordinarily rare. Worth somewhere around $800 to $1,200. And ordinarily, that's what these are worth. But yours is special.

GUEST:
Oh, good.

APPRAISER:
And what's special about it is that this was not made for the American or the European audience. I know that because, again, as I tip this up, not only do we have dragons, we have this fanciful sea creature here. And you've got this fish here, which is kind of a monstrous creation of a fish. There's no fish that looks like that. And that's because these are things that one sees in Chinese mythology and on Chinese decoration for a Chinese domestic audience. I would say at auction it's about $4,000 to $6,000.

GUEST:
Oh, great.

APPRAISER:
And that's because the Chinese market is so strong, and it wouldn't surprise me, actually, if it did more than that.

GUEST:
Great, thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, New York
Appraised value (2010)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Event
Miami Beach, FL (July 10, 2010)
Form
Vessel
Material
Porcelain

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