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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 4666
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I have a solid brass bowl that I believe is a vintage

Customer Question

I have a solid brass bowl that I believe is a vintage planter from the early 1900's. The circumference is approx 8.75 inches. It has two large brass Iguanas on either side and very ornate hand tooled cravings near the top of the bowl going around it. It belonged to my grandmother who was born in 1911. It's a heavy piece. No hallmarks or any markings on it. Just looking for some history.....
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here are some pictures
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
2 more pics of carvings.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 months ago.

Hi James,

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your interesting brass bowl.

Thanks for all the photos, I can see exactly what you have.

This is Chinese (as opposed to Japanese) and dates to the early 1900s as you mentioned, possibly as old as the 1890s.

Those creatures that make up the handles are a mythical hornless dragon that the Chinese call a chilong. Typically, chilongs were placed in the roof as a traditional feng shui practice to protect ones house from wind and fire, but they were also popular as adornments on household objects like this.

You'll also see other auspicious symbols in the decoration. Among that millefleur floral pattern are "lucky coins" or charms, each with a (usually) four character charm inscription, written either in regular Chinese characters or zhuanshu, an ancient seal script, which were immensely popular at the time.

The vessel would have been used as an incense burner.

As for value, you'd have no problem finding a buyer for this bowl. All things Chinese are selling briskly at the moment owing to the fact that the Chinese themselves are so wealthy these days and avidly buying back what were once considered 'cheap' export items. Also, this is quite a rare object. I've never seen one with quite this pattern of motifs.

If you were to sell at a good antique auction house, or on line (eBay and the like), I can see this bowl selling in the range of $400 - $600.

It therefore has a full retail value (if you saw it for sale in antique store, say) of $1200. This is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps!

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance with this, I would be glad to.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you Robert. I greatly appreciate this info. You have a wonderful day.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 months ago.

Delighted to have helped. Thanks for asking me about it, it was a treat to see it.

You too have a great day!

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