Late-17th-Century Chinese Porcelain Jars

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

I had an uncle whose father was a merchant marine in China in the 1920s. He and his wife purchased a lot of Chinese items and brought them back to the United States, and then I inherited these and a lot of other Chinese things.

You have some knowledge about ceramics?

Yeah, I'm a potter by trade.

How would you have made these?

If I was a good potter, I would have thrown them in one piece as far as the pot goes, and then the lid would be separate, the knob would probably be thrown on the lid. Decorate it with cobalt carbonate and some sort of a celadon.

And you've described exactly the situation that was facing the potter who made these in China in the 17th century.

17th century? Wow.

Now, the question is, how do we know it dates to the 17th century? There are several clues. One is when we take this off, this part here is unglazed, and the lip of this is unglazed, and that's because, as you were describing the firing process, the cover and the vase were fired together. Together. And if you had these glazed, what would happen to them?

It's basically glass, glaze is glass, so it'd fuse together.

That's exactly it, and that's a characteristic of the 17th century wares is that you actually don't have the glaze on the rim. And one of the other features that's notable is-- we're talking about the cobalt-- this pattern here, this kind of wave-like pattern around the lip, is typical of wares that were made in the mid-17th century. We call it the transitional period from the Ming to the Qing dynasty. But this is a little bit more controlled. These were probably made toward the end of the 17th century.

Nice, wow.

So we were also talking about how it was made, and it was actually made on a wheel, and you can see these very faintly visible concentric rings on the bottom. And that's indicative of where it was made on the wheel. And likely, this was made in a single throw. In many cases, they were what is called luted together in the middle. That wasn't the case with this.

Yeah, took a good potter to do that.

A very good potter. Do you have any idea what the value of these would be?

I have no idea. I've never had them appraised.

They're terrific. The colors are vibrant, beautifully painted, lotus decoration, nice shape. I would say at auction, a conservative estimate is $12,000 to $18,000.

(laughing): Wow! Nice! That's amazing.

If you didn't have those chips, the value of these would probably be as the two, $15,000 to $25,000, so that's hurt the value a little bit.

Appraisal Details

Lark Mason Associates
New York, NY
Appraised value (2013)
$12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Boise, ID (June 29, 2013)
Asian Arts

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