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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5769
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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My uncle has some vases that I would like to get information

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My uncle has some vases that I would like to get information on the writing for him. The pictures I have are mostly of the bottom of the vase, and small figures that appear to be stamps that I can't read either. Please let me know if you can help or where I can email the pictures. Thank you so much for your time.

Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would be happy to help with your uncle's vases.


From your excellent photo I can tell exactly what this one is, it's an example of Chinese ling lung, or rice grain pattern on a tea bowl with a Kangxi reign mark .


If you could attach photos of the others and the rest of this one so I can see the decoration on the inside, I would be happy to appraise them.


Here's by far the simplest way to attach pictures (four clicks and a copy-and-paste and you're done!).


Go to

click on Computer

Select the picture file from the box that pops up.

Hit open.

Click on Start Upload

And then copy the link (the URL) from there and paste it to here where you are typing.


Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX to hear.


Customer: replied 5 years ago. the first 2 pics are of the plate face and bottom with the writing. The next two are of a figure that appears to be a stamp. The last one is the bottom of another vase. I have limitted pictures, sorry for that, but my uncle is terminal and a long distance away. He is wondering if they are just cheap art or if they have any actual value. Would mean alot for me to let him know before he passes. Thank you again.

Good morning!

I am sorry to hear about your uncle. I will do the best I can and give you an honest and thorough appraisal for him.

I got the photo of the top of the plate in the link you sent, thank you for that, but no other photos.

You'll need to copy and paste the link for each image one at a time.

or, better still, you can group the images into an album (just check the box before you hit Start Upload) then send me the link in just the same way. That way one link will lead me to all the photos.

Many thanks and wait to hear.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry for the mishap.

Thanks so much for the photos, they are great. Nice and clear.

However, can I get a few extra quick details from you:

(1) The grisaille and rust red plate. Is the photo of the red six character mark the base that goes with this plate?

(2) Mauve, blue, violet, yellow, green fern pattern and aqua base. Is that a vase? Or a bowl? Can you very kindly tell me how tall it is? And any chance of a snapshot of the rest of the piece?

(3) The pair of foo lions with feet on balls. How tall are they? Do they have raised seal marks on the botXXXXX XXXXXke the little one?

(4) The small foo dog seal.

(5) The rice grain pattern tea bowl (photo already sent) any chance of a photo of the top side?

I make that a total of five items, am I correct?

Many thanks and wait to hear,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The plate is the one with the red characters.

The multi colored base picture is a vase that is 10" tall, I apologize that I don't have a full picture of it.

The pair of foo lions are 5" tall and have very fine decoration carved onto the sides of the blocks but they do not have raised marks on the bottom.

The small foo dog has the seal and is 2 1/2" tall.

The rice bowl is about 5" across and 2" deep, sorry no other picture either.

The plate is about 13".
Again, any info as to age, era, value, or anything would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thanks SO much for all that, that helps greatly and don't worry about the pictures, I'll be able to give you an accurate enough appraisal.

There are some nice items there, I trust you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I'll get back to you in the morning with a full answer as it's now got late, I see.

I am on US Eastern time and it's rapidly approaching pumpkin time!

Best wishes,


So here are details and auction values.


(1) The grisaille and rust red 13" plate. This is a completely captivating plate with some of the best grisaille decoration I've seen in a long time. The grisaille is the black Chinese ink, all hand drawn, on the unglazed porcelain and then heightened with rust red (probably over the glaze). It depicts a lotus pond with a large dragon-like fish lurking under the ripples, leaves and stylized blossoms of the lotus.


It is old, but not as old as the marks suggest. Reading the mark on the back in columns from top to bottom, starting with the right hand column, the characters are:


or "Da Qing Qian-long Nian Zhi" which translates as "made in the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the great Qing dynasty". The Qianlong period is 1736 -95.
However, it is almost certainly Guangxu Period (1875-1908) as almost all porcelain with these marks tends to be.


Having said that, it is an extremely desirable plate and would find a ready market, particularly the Chinese market, which is hot right now. The Chinese have suddenly become prosperous enough to be buying all their decorative arts back again and are in something of a feeding frenzy for these better quality pieces.

I would say this would sell for $1500 - 3500 at auction.


(2) Multicolored vase 10" This is an example of fencai or famille rose decoration on a turquoise ground. A leaf pattern probably terminating in flower blossoms. What a shame I can't see the rest of this piece! Very tantalizing! However I can see enough of it to be reasonably sure of what it is. The mark on the base is a square seal Qianlong mark. It is another way of writing 大清乾隆年制 or "Da Qing Qian-long Nian Zhi" for the emperor Qianlong.


Again, these are apocryphal marks (they did not have some of these pigments available to them in the 1700s). However, like the plate, it was made in the late 1800s and would still have a value.

$500 - 800 at auction.

(3) Pair of foo lions or qilin rectangular Chinese seals

These are made of soapstone and very well carved. Especially the shadow or 'secret carving' on the sides which makes them much more desirable. Probably mid to late 1800s in date. A matching pair is also more valuable.

Estimate at auction $1000 - 1500.

(4) Small two character foo-dog Chinese seal.

Again about the same period as (3), also expertly carved soapstone.

Estimate at auction $150 - 300.

(5) Rice grain Ling lung pattern tea bowl 5" diameter

One of the common names for this see-through pattern is "rice grain" which is appropriate in that the little apertures do look like grains of rice but generally this then leads to the erroneous explanation that they were made by inserting rice grains into the wall of the pot which then burnt away in the kiln leaving the 'windows'. Actually the windows were each painstakingly cut by hand when the clay was leather-hard. When the pot is then dipped in glaze prior to firing the glaze bridges over the holes creating the translucent pane. The term ling lung applies to any design where the body of the vessel is pierced or cut out, whether the glaze bridges over or not. So you can take your pick: 'rice grain' pattern or ling lung.

I can't see much of the decoration but the lappet band of leaves arond the footring suggest a simple but well handpainted underglaze blue and white design, typical of Kangxi era. However the blue has a little too much violet in it to be of the period, which makes it late 1800s again, possibly early 1900s.

The four character mark is a Kangxi reign mark 康熙年製 Kangxi nian zhi or "Made in the time of Emperor Kangxi" (1622- 1722) -but apocryphal.

These bowls are not particularly rare and sell for $150 - 300 at auction.



I strongly recommend if you want to dispose of these items and get the best possible margin out of them, to sell them through one of the top auction houses such as Bonhams or Christies who would understand what you have and have an international clientèle of potential bidders who also understand.


If you take them to your local or provincial antique auction rooms you will NOT get these values as the number of potential bidders who knew what they were would be extremely small or non-existent.


I do hope this helps and I wish you and your uncle all the best under the circumstances.
Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance,
Best wishes,



PS Please don't forget to click the 'Accept' button if you're happy with my answer (at no extra cost to you) as I only get paid by JustAnswers when you do. Thank you!

Robert S. and other Antiques Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help, it is very much appreciated.

You are so welcome, thank YOU!