18th-Century Chinese Enamel Plaque

Value (2011) | $5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

My mother and father went to China in the late 1970s, and my father liked the colors on these and had them sent back, a pair. Then my father died, my mother died, and the house items were being tagged for a sale, and the person who was doing the tag sale said that these are beautiful decorative items, possibly a few hundred dollars, and I thought for that, I would like to hold on to them.

These are enamel porcelain on copper. Now, this technique we often refer to as Canton enamel. The technique of enamels on copper or enamels on a metal, a base metal, started in Limoges at a much earlier date. And these are wonderful examples of the relationship that the East and West had during the 18th century.

And so this wasn't one of the examples where the Chinese did it first and then everybody else copied, like gunpowder and things.

Quite right, it's the reverse. There's a slight damage to the edge here, and there's a fracture of the enamel, and you'll see very finely the brown copper ground coming through. There's some surface scratching to the enamel. This is a very, very common Chinese subject of scholar with attendant. It's our assumption that its function in China would have been one of two things: a hardwood, hanging horizontal painting, or a insert into a piece of furniture. It's not a common tourist decorative object.


But a very well painted and large for a Canton enamel plaque. When it comes to auction estimates, this is a good example in good condition. The painting is of a high standard. All of those would lead me to put an auction estimate of $5,000 to $8,000 on it.

Wow. Is this for the pair?

This is for a single.


So a pair, I would put an auction estimate at $12,000 to $18,000.

Appraisal Details

PKR Antiques & Fine Art
West Palm Beach, FL
Appraised value (2011)
$5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Asian Arts

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