Techniques Requiring Study
Here are a few techniques that sophisticated collectors watch out for in determining authenticity. Much research is required to be able to use these effectively. This section will be expanded at a later phase of the website's development.
1. Incorrect Colours for a Period
In the early days of Blue and White Porcelain, Chinese potters only had access to cobalt blue pigment from Arabian traders. Called Mohamadan Blue, it was dark in shade and most pieces during the eras it was used had dark blue decoration. In later centuries, the Chinese figured how to refine their own cobalt blue but it was lighter in shade. Therefore, decoration on later pieces is lighter and has more varied shading on designs.
As well, some colours were not used by potters until later in the Qing dynasty period because the technology for their production did not exist.
These are simple examples to this complex and very interesting authentication method.
2. Incorrect Designs for a Period
Certain types of designs were fashionable during different periods. For instance, grapes as a design motif was popular in the last Yuan and early Ming dynasties but later went out of taste and were seldom seen again. Another example is the eyes of human figures which altered their shapes from period to period.
The Chinese emperor also periodically dictated what designs were acceptable on Porcelains. Five clawed dragons were generally used to designate the emperor and most Imperial Porcelain were painted as such.
3. Ancient Base With New Body
Over the past century, huge quantities of Ceramics were smashed to pieces. The Cultural Revolution was particularly abusive to fine Chinese Porcelains.
Today, entrepreneurial potters are seeking out bottoms of shattered pieces and building new Ceramics on top. Given that much of China currently resembles a construction site, it is not difficult to uncover piles of smashed Ceramics and to pick through them. It is a clever idea since many collectors look at the base for key indicators of age and authenticity.
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