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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
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Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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S.: Chinese footed plate.

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For Robert S.: Chinese footed plate.
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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Paint is overglaze
Hello,
I'm Josie, a moderator for this topic.
I sent your requested Expert a message to follow up with you here, when he is back online.

Just letting you know this one got to me! I'll have an answer for you as soon as I can.

Many thanks as always,

Robert.

Hi Daniel,

This footed dish is an intriguing piece, too, and not something you see too much of.

It's Chinese and dates to the early Chinese Republic era, the 1920s or 1930s.

It's a reproduction of a style of dish, usually with a celadon glaze ground and this characteristically decorated footrim, that was popular in the third quarter of the 1800s particularly during the Tongzhi reign which was 1856 - 1875.

We can tell it's not of the period because of the colors of the glazes in the flowers which are 20th century fencai enamels (aka famille rose) and also the presence of that red wax mark on the inside of the footrim (not the large red marks which are something else, probably importer/retailer marks).

The red wax mark is the remains of an official export approval seal, and known as a Jian Ding (jianding) which literally means an "appraised & certified" antique.

Here's what a modern one looks like. But one needs to view them with a great deal of caution. "Export approval" Jian Ding seals have been issued by the Chinese Cultural Relics Bureau from about 1949 onward. They give permission to allow items made only between 1795 and 1949 (and therefore classed as a "cultural relic") to be exported out of China. Items older than that are prohibited from export.

In effect, however, this is no guarantee that an item is antique. The overwhelming majority of items that receive the seal, date to the 1920s and 1930s, some are even from the 1950s (despite the "before-1949" certification) and only one jianding has ever been found on an item older than mid-1800s.

Despite all this, I think this bowl would spark some interest as items from the formative years of the Chinese Republic appear to be of great interest to the Chinese themselves, more so even than some of the late Qing imperial wares.

I would give your bowl an auction/eBay value in the range of $50 - $75. Full retail/replacement/insurance value: $150.

Hope this is helpful!

As always, please get back to me with questions on any of the above if need be.

Best wishes,
Robert.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks for your research and explanations. I'm learning tons. I have two questions:What makes the fencai enamels here “20th century”? I’ve found each of the hues of the fencai enamels in my bowl in other famille rose pieces that pre-date the 20th century, in some cases by 100 or more years.Is it typical for porcelain from the 1930s to show this much age? I speak particularly of the blackened bottom ring and, more noteworthy, the deeply discoloured porcelain exposed by the chip. (Presumably, the damaged area did not directly contact a surface.) I also see several cracks underneath the rim surrounded by discoloration underglaze. These properties result from the long passage of time. This, combined with the export approval seal, which if authentic allows for older wares, made me think this bowl was older. Am I misreading things?- Daniel

I understand it's not easy to differentiate 20th c from earlier enamel colors, and I don't have an easy explanation either, you just have to keep looking at hundreds and hundreds of examples and comparing. It's not about the hue, but more about the increases chalkiness in some (not all) 20th c. fencai enamels. For instance, the original fencai yellow was created in the early 1700s by a combination of lead stannate and lead arsenate. In the late 19th century it was realized how devastatingly toxic that was to the dippers and enamelers and the arsenic compounds were phased out (but not the lead ones until the 1960s) and so the intensity of the yellow changed. Other factors also influenced it, but it looks more lemony than orangy. This is not to be confused with the transparent iron yellow that is also used, but this is more ocher in color when opaque.

And yes, an early 20th century piece can look this old. Some were deliberately aged by staining the footrim, either before or after firing, and the various manufacturing flaws can also be deliberately accentuated by adding tea & ink stains. Even without doing that, these pieces are now 80 or 90 years old which is certainly old enough to have allowed them to accumulate plenty of dust dirt in the pits, pops and crazing.

And as for the jianding seal, the overwhelming majority of (dated) ceramics carrying a jianding seal have been found to date to the 1920s and 1930s. Only one piece with a jianding has ever been recorded from the mid-1800s.

The other thing to consider is the artwork itself which has a distinctly 'modern' almost Art Nouveau look to it influenced, as even Chinese art of its day was, by international trends.

Hope this is helpful!

Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5830
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks and great stuff here. I especially appreciate the reference to the Art Nouveau movement, which I agree closely joins the floral organic design with the dates you've pointed to. I'm recognizing that genuine authentication includes the sublime elements that don't appear as apparent superficial traits. Thanks.

You've got it! These pieces can provide a wealth of information, if one has the patience & passion to look at them long enough and carefully enough, and you certainly seem to have that! Great job! R.