Chinese Republic Period Enamel Vases

Value (2013) | $12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction

I know my dad was in Shanghai in 1937, and he was purchasing furniture and odds and ends because my mother was coming out to the Philippines. And when she came back to New York in 1941, it all got shipped over. Later on when I was born, I just remembered seeing them on top of the old-fashioned kind of TV and the furniture and she just said, "When you dust, be careful." So in 1998, she moved out to live with us in California. They came and they've been packed up ever since and we decided maybe now is the chance to see what they were worth.

Well, have you had them appraised? Have you shown them to anyone?

Yes, in 1998 we were at the Brooklyn Museum and my husband inquired and the gentleman there said that they may be over 150 years old. He gave us a price we thought was pretty good, but we didn't know, "Well, is he telling the truth or what?" So we packed them up, I think we stopped off at an antique dealer in New York who didn't give us the same good information, so we thought, "Well, we don't know, so let's pack them away."

They're a beautiful pair. It's rather interesting in the fact that they were done during the Republic period in China, which started in 1912. They were inspired by Chien-lung pieces, and that's what's on the bottom, the Chien-lung mark. It's a spurious mark. It's not a genuine mark of that period, but somebody looking at that would say, "Oh, it's Chien-lung." It's the Chien-lung style, and it's an honorific type of marking. But they're fantastically good quality for the Republic period. The market now is very, very strong for these pieces. The mainland Chinese really enjoy works of this quality. The design is beautiful, it's the same on both of them, wonderful landscape, tremendous detail and fine workmanship. These are porcelain, gorgeous condition, and it would have been probably about 1920 when these were manufactured. And do you have any idea how much your father might have paid for this pair?

You know, actually I don't, but being in the Navy, I'm sure not a lot.

And that was 1930...?


So you don't have an idea what they're worth, you don't want to take a guesstimate?

The person at the museum said $50,000 and he sounded a little...

But he thought that they were early and you thought they were Chien-lung.


If they were Chien-lung, yes. But they're Republic, as I say. An auction market price for this pair would be between $12,000 and $18,000 in today's market.

Well, that’s incredible. Well, thank you for that.

Appraisal Details

Castle Fine Arts, Inc.
Del Mar, CA
Appraised value (2013)
$12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Anaheim, CA (June 22, 2013)
Asian Arts

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