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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5820
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Here is a vase that has a on the bottom. What do you think

Customer Question

Here is a vase that has a mark on the bottom. What do you think of this one?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.

Hi Linda!

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

Did you tell me the size of this one? How tall is it?

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The vase is 12 inches tall and has
no chips or other defects
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.

Okay great thanks, I'll have a full answer and a value for you on this one as soon as I can tomorrow. It's gotten late here, nearly pumpkin time!

Have a great night,

Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.

I'm so sorry for the complete silence my end you must be wondering what happened. By some quirk of the site I got locked out of the question and could not respond. I'm back now thankfully and will give your vase my full and prompt attention as soon as I can.

Best wishes,


PS This is not an ANSWER so please ignore any prompts to respond; they are automatically generated and do not come from me. Thanks.

Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.

This is a very nice Chinese polychrome export vase, an antique reproduction piece with Yongzheng marks, but is not of the period. Its likely date is early 20th century.

The form is a traditional "mallet" shape and the decoration is an underglaze blue outline of the design filled in with enamel colors, a palette known as wucai or famille verte. The polychrome colors are laid in by hand, over the glaze, in a subsequent firing. However the palette and the composition of the colors is not quite right to be of the date the marks purport this vase to be.

This is how the colors look on a genuine Yongzheng vase of the period (early 1700s)

and you can see how the hues and saturation are a little different, particularly the rust red. Also, the most telling is that the decorators back then did not have that magenta (rose) color available to them.

The pattern is a nicely designed traditional stylized lotus with associated foliate forms, framed and embellished with red ruyi heads, an auspicious symbol shaped like a lingzhi bracket fungus that confers longevity. Around the neck and shoulder are carnations, the flower of love in the Chinese tradition, again their petals and leaves are stylized in the typical way of the porcelain decorators of Jindezhen.

Around the base is a lappet band of stylized lotus leaves in green, yellow and red.

The mark is an imperial seal for emperor Yongzheng (1723 - 1735) and reads:


Da Qing Yongzheng nian zhi

But it's not of the period for the reasons mentioned.

Here's how to read the marks:

As for value, even though it's a reproduction, this vase would generate some interest at auction and would sell in the range of $200 - $300. It therefore has a full retail or replacement value of $600 and which is what I should insure it for.

I do hope this helps!

Again, apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you resend a complete
photo of the genuine vase
from the period showing the colors
available in that period? Thank you
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.

Sure. Here's a genuine Yongzheng vase showing the typical wucai* palette of the time.

The closest color to the magenta flowers on yours is the lavender/puce color on the butterflies, but this is a different hue and is also translucent, whereas the later magenta is opaque. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Chinese started mixing the pigments with a white oxide of lead flux which made them thicker and more opaque.

Hope this makes sense. Generally, it's a whole lot easier to see these differences when one can compare two pieces side by side in the hand, and a lot more difficult doing it from photos with different lighting and cameras etc.