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Enormous Meiping Vase (New Photos)

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Chinese Antiques408 of 729CALLIGRAPHY BRUSH HOLDERChinese Lamp / Shade ??
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Posted 3 years ago


(198 items)

Added new photos. Now I'm thinking it may in fact be Chinese, after hearing from the people on another forum. Found similar wares from the Guangxu period, late Qing, with similar decor and glaze. Nothing this enormous though. Its 27" tall and could fit a basketball at the widest point. 30 pounds.

Also, it came from the estate of a man who was of the mayor of a wealthy city, from 1970-1986, and he was an art dealer himself.

Posted to forums on Chinese antique porcelain and got positive responses regarding authenticity. Still investigating it

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
    Best of luck tomorrow. This is gorgeous. Let us know if you get it.
  2. mikelv85 mikelv85, 3 years ago
    Well it's definitely Chinese Still, and awesome !! ..... The dragons have five toes. Japanese dragons only have three. This type of vase with a solid color and incised decoration I believe is called "Anhua"

    This is from Gotheborg's site:

    An hua or "hidden decoration":

    An hua means "hidden" decoration. It is un-colored and only seen as impressions under a clear glaze or through transmitted light. The decoration could be produced either by carving, incising or impressing the design into the porcelain before glazing and firing. The decoration was first seen as the dominating decoration on Song (960-1279) dynasty Ding and Xing wares and continued on Qingbai wares, under a slightly bluish glaze.
    Hidden decoration was very popular in the early Ming period, at least in part because of Yongle's taste for plain white wares. Several reason's have been proposed to explain Yongle's preference for white wares, which represented quite a change from the taste for brightly colored underglaze blue and copper-red wares of the late 14th century. Since white is the color of filial piety and mourning, one of them is that Yongle's choice was partially intended to mitigate the circumstances under which he came to rule, which also caused him to spend the first four years of his reign in mourning.
    Hidden end carefully engraved thin lines or decorations was also a key feature in borders on "high transitional" pieces around the 1640's. The technique was revived as in cut and impressed rim decorations in the Qing Dynasty during the first half of the 18th century after which it develops into a colored surface-covering version called "graviata".
  3. AmberRose AmberRose, 3 years ago
    So exciting! Please let us know if you get it. Probably in line right now.
  4. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 3 years ago
    I love the color...
  5. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    It actually may in fact be Chinese instead of and English copy, after getting some more opinions and finding similar wares from the period. And the particular estate that it came from was a man who really knew his stuff, an art dealer married to a mayor of a wealthy, artsy city. Burmantofts was similar, but no Asian motifs like this, and nothing similar in form. And the high-quality Chinese wooden base makes me think its not English too.

    Sorry to bother you all again with an email, I'm just really focused on identifying this piece
  6. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 3 years ago
    Very nice Stillwater, i hope you identify it.
  7. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Thanks Fran, I'm still plugging away at it
  8. AmberRose AmberRose, 3 years ago
    Oooohhhh, so cool. Did you empty it? What's the plan? Did you get anything else at the sale? Keep updating!!!
  9. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Yeah I emptied it all out, sent photos to our Bonham's rep to see if she could help. I've stopped cranking on it because if it IS an authentic Guangxu palace vase, I need to get the restoration people to take over. I don't want to damage it. Ahhh if I could only see the base for marks, just one peep!

    Guangxu period was 1875-1908, and from looking at it under LED, UV, and magnification, it DOES appear that it could be that old. This guy was a wealthy, high-profile art dealer too... That's the only reason I have hope it could be authentic
  10. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    I am skeptical too, but I did find some similar pieces online, Guangxu period, so they did use yellow then. Mine has two dragons as well, the other is just not pictured. If it had not been for the provenance, I wouldn't be think it could be genuine. High-profile art dealer for 40 years, married to the mayor of the wealthiest city in Arizona. Some very valueable things were in that home.

    Some of the quality on these genuine ones is lower than the one I have

    This one has identical decor:
  11. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    On the last photo you can see the claw of the 2nd dragon at the bottom
  12. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Well, I posted it on a forum dedicated to Chinese antique ceramics, guys who really know their stuff, and they're thinking that its what I think it is, Guangxu, late Qing.

    "The tail of the dragon really looks as if it was late Qing dynasty."

    "from what I can see, the dragon looks like the old style of decoration, the way the five claws are done are from earlier periods"

    "you just might have something valuable here"
  13. mikelv85 mikelv85, 3 years ago
    Hi Still... I see you've asked Peter about your vase and the censor. Sorry that it wasn't real. I think it's nice anyway. So how is the dismantling on the lamp going? Maybe use a good penetrating oil like "liquid wrench" and let it sit a day or two. Sounds like it's really seized up. I've asked him about my little rice grain tea cup's mark but he never answered me. I showed him the celadon wine bottle and all he said was that's not collectable it's modern. I think I'm getting the cold shoulder, although I don't know why. I also asked him what he thought of my Qianlong bowl and no answer there either. Guess I most have offended him in some way. I just valued his opinion and wanted him to see it. Oh well guess I won't be posting there for a while. I can always go back to the Asian art forums. It just takes longer to get a reply. -Mike-
  14. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Well I knew the censer wasn't old when I bought it, it was just nicely decorated and I thought I could make a few bucks on it.

    The large vase however, they seem to be getting excited over. Peter said it looked like an authentic late Qing piece from the form of the dragon's claw and tail.

    My guess would be that he's probably not responding because knowledge is *literally* valuable, it takes a lifetime to acquire and its worth money. Some people don't like to give away too much of it. Maybe you should try only posting there sporadically? He's basically giving out free appraisals after all. My advice with Peter, try not to ask too much from him.

    I saw your crackled celadon vase and I thought it was really neat, even if its not worth a lot, it would be something I would put in my home. The dark crazing gives it a neat decor, plus its old and dirty and signed, just the way I like.
  15. mikelv85 mikelv85, 3 years ago
    Thanks, Yes that is a nice piece, but the one I was talking about was the round celadon wine bottle that had rice wine in it. I didn't know at the time it was modern, but that's why I asked him. The fangge crackle vase with the crude Chengua mark is actually late Qing/Early Republic 1890-1920. Old just not real After all it is a forum and there are no stipulations or monetary compensations unlike Gotheborg where you have to pay to ask his advice. It's nice to have things that are worth money,but it's not the reason I collect. It's the thrill of the hunt and the knowledge you gain in the process.
  16. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Rule of thumb in antique collection: story is story, items speak for themselves.

    Here is my 2 cents:
    1, It's too large to be true.

    2, As mentioned by other users, it's meant to be called "an-hua" or more precisely "an-ke", means hidden-carving. Look at yours, I could see the motif clearly meters away, isn't this a warning sign?

    No offense at all
  17. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    How can you say what it was meant to be?
    Yes, you can see the design clearly, so doesn't that mean it wasn't supposed to be anhua ware?
  18. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    stillwater, you can compare your with those you referred by links. To my eyes, your is way more easier to see the motif.

    for example, this can't been seen clearly.

    and this is the same:

    Wonder why? Because if you look closely, your dragon is above the porcelain surface, called cameo engraving, while others are diaglyph, the sunken engraving. The cameo type would catch a lot enamel when it's baked in kiln and result in darker color and easier to be spotted from distance.

    Like to hear your input.
  19. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    I'm not really sure what you are trying to say here, that its a reproduction? I noticed early on that the pieces online are incised, which leads back to my other point: Who says this piece is anhua ware?... Its clearly not incised like anhua. Is there another type of ware that is cameo-engraved?

    In the back of my mind, I just can't believe that it could be real. On the other hand though, I sent photos to some VERY knowledgeable people, and they said that it appeared to be genuine late Qing dynasty. I don't know what to believe. I need to get the base off to see the bottom, but its stuck
  20. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    I guess the easiest way to go is to search for museum items from the same period with the same techniques. I can't rule out the existence of this kind has been made in Qing dynasty. It would be great if the VERY knowledgeable people could point you to the benchmark piece in museums.
  21. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    You're probably right, check museum catalogs. I have a friend at Bonham's, I may drive it up to her and see what she thinks. I guess the key is to find a genuine piece with the same technique.

    Something that bothers me is that the inside of the piece is in the same yellow glaze. Now, the other authentic pieces I've seen online had a celadon or white glaze on the inside, different color than the outside. Do you think that is a red flag?
  22. AmberRose AmberRose, 3 years ago
    The mystery continues...following with baited breath!
  23. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    No Stillwater, that's fine and quite normal. Celadon or white glaze were made in high temperature kiln and yellow glaze was made in low temperature kiln. The first step in make this kind of ware is forging the porcelain body along with Celadon glaze under high temperature. The yellow glaze was laid in the second step under low temperature. It's the maker's decision to do both side or single side.
  24. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Hi idcloisonne, I don't quite understand your idea. What's the difference you mentioned to distinguish porcelain and earthenware? A Grainy surface? I don't thinks so. There is a spot on this item not covered by glaze, which allow you to exam the porcelain body material. You could find it at the center of the second pic.
  25. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Hi idcloisonne, I've pointed you to the uncover part on this vase, no need to look at the base. It's white and fine. I don't agree to judge a material in the body by its shape, not accurate nor necessary. In this case, weight and thickness are not options, the white color and fine texture could only lead to porcelain. Spots and rougher area could present on porcelain as well due to the defect in kaolinite preparation or body trimming. It's called rough-china and fine-china today.
  26. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 3 years ago
    Amberose.I'm with you, following this one with bated breath. Interesting debate. I'm a complete novice so no nothing:)
  27. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    But this piece isn't anhua, that was just the first lead I got, and I've since found out that its not what it is. So lets get anhua out of the way

    There's a man on a forum with very detailed, intricate knowledge of antique Chinese ceramics, and everything that he has had me check, to authenticate it as late Qing, has checked out.

    " you might be able to see on or more seams inside. Such vases would have been in pieces, on the wheel, which then were fit together. If it were thrown in one go, then this would mean it was made later. Usually, with much older (17th century and earlier) pieces the seams were often also visible on the outside, but in the late Qing period the seam was smoothed down, so it may be less obvious."

    - I did find a seam, it was smoothed down just like he said, and I can see it down inside with a flashlight. He's also told me:

    "The tail of the dragon really looks as if it was late Qing dynasty."

    "from what I can see, the dragon looks like the old style of decoration, the way the five claws are done are from earlier periods"

    " from the looks of the top and top inside, your vase appears to be older"

    "you just might have something valuable here"

    (These are from two different people mind you, two different opinions)

    - I checked other posts of his on other threads, this guy is a human encyclopedia of antique Chinese ceramics. The entire forum is dedicated to it, and he's the admin.

    So what are your thoughts idcloisonne?
  28. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Ok, idcloisonne, let me show you the uncovered body highlighted in the following pic. When I said "the base", I actually referred to the foot rim, where you may be able to see the body material, and know in turn the thickness of the body. It's not feasible in this case, neither the weight. Thus I am trying my best to GUESS the MEIPING vase. To be honest, it's not the traditional Qing dynasty Meiping shape to me.
  29. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater, interesting comments you quoted, let's exam them.

    "Seam" first. Alright, even modern casting technique can't do this shape in one go with one piece of mold and there always has to be "seams" somewhere. In this case, you don't even have to look inside, I've spotted on the outer side. check the pic I highlighted. This raised two questions in my head.

    1, Is this an old one crafted by hand? If so, why did the maker forget to trim the seam outside?

    2, Is this an mould cast porcelain? If so, the seam is hard to trim since the cast body has already hardened when it's taken out from the mould.

    If the 2nd case applies, look at the inside, looking for any sunken area associated with the raised motif on the outer side. If there is, it's mould cast. If not, look at the inner side bottom, looking for a sunken ring associated with outer foot rim. If there is, a mould cast again.
  30. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    idcloisonne, the 60 pounds includes the timber base and lamp accessories, don't take it seriously.

    Illustration is always the best way to communicate. I'll try to incorporate it into my post.
  31. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    oops that was 30 pounds, a good lesson to myself, always proof read and verify...
  32. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 3 years ago
    Idcloisonne, entertaining and informative, its a great post. Learning a bit about porcelain & earthenware:)
  33. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    idcloisonne, obviously the translation tools I am using is my own brain. I admit wood, wooden and timber are confusing to me and I use them interchangeably. Thank you for correcting my words.

  34. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    idcloisonne, you mentioned the 'uncovered' body would be the unfinished area....I don't know what do you mean with 'finish'. To me it's simply a flaw due to excessive thickness of the glaze liquid. The surface tension caused the glaze to shrink and left some area uncovered.
  35. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    30 pounds was just a guess, comparing it to a 25 lb dumbbell now, its probably more like 18-20 lbs. And that's with the wooden base and a hollow brass rod. I took the harp and finial off.

    Shrine - I looked inside and it is smooth, no sunken areas corresponding to the outside decoration. I also did not see a sunken ring around the foot. Its hard to see down there, but it looks pretty flat. If you look a it closely, you can see that it was incised by hand with a tool, so the designs themselves are definitely not moulded.
    The seam is actually easy to see in the photos because the flash highlights contrast in the color, but its nearly invisible in person. It's been trimmed or smoothed down pretty well.

    idcloisonne - I never in my wildest dreams thought it was for the Imperial household, I was just hoping that it wasn't a 1970's piece of hippie crap. If you're thinking 1900-1920, that's basically the date I was expecting/hoping for. Late Qing, like the guy on the other forum said, right?

    About impressing the Westerners, that's a good point. I've definitely seen a million big, crappy, moulded porcelain things out there, I know exactly what you're talking about, but I haven't seen similar to this before, and I do a lot of Google Image searches on Chinese porcelain.

    I've added a photo of the glaze skip. Its been exposed to air and moisture for a while and could be darker from that, but I'd say it looks pretty white, not like the brown earthenware I'm familiar with. There is also a place on the rim where the glaze was recently worn off slightly when I was fiddling with the base, and it looks absolutely BONE white.

    Okay, now I'm looking at it under magnification all over, I'm seeing tiny areas where the glaze has chipped off or whatever, and its as pure white as white can get.

    I've seen that shiwan earthenware stuff before, and I was thinking that this piece was earthenware, but after seeing how white this is just now, I don't know... What do you think? How could it be so white but look so grainy?
  36. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater, it's good, at least it's not a modern cheap copy, but I haven't rule out sophisticated repro. The next thing bothering me is the shape. Here is a Ming dynasty Yellow glaze Meiping, I don't know is it real, but it has the right shape.
  37. AmberRose AmberRose, 3 years ago
    I am really enjoying (and learning!) from this friendly debate. It is hard here in the states to get a good idea of quality of Asian treasures as we are flooded with so much junk (which can be pretty).
  38. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Yeah its not technically, exactly meiping shape, that was just about the closest way to describe its form. I don't remember finding anything exactly like it online, so I don't know what to tell you. I think you made a mistake copy/pasting that link, I just get a blank page with !! !! !! !! Ö÷»ú¿Õ¼äµ½ÆÚ. Can you try posting it again? I'd really like to see it

    Yeah Amber, you're right, I wish there wasn't such a flood of Asian junk in the states, but every once in a while you do hit the jackpot, like that Yabu Meizan bowl I found for 10 bucks. Its worth 7-8 grand, more if it didn't have a tiny chip on the rim. That's what keeps me sifting through the piles of Asian junk, because there ARE some good Japanese/Chinese ceramics to be found
  39. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    I'm sure you're right about it being earthenware. Its a cool piece though, old, and I only paid 45 bucks for it. Betcha I can get at least 500!
  40. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    idcloisonne -- I just realized why you were unhappy with me and must apologize for my words. When I said "oops that was 30 pounds", I intended to correct the wrong value I put on level 40. Hope I had made you feel better.
  41. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater -- I could see the pic without problem. I've uploaded it to another location, try this, let me know if you still have problem.

    I would like to see your Yabu Meizan bowl, can you send me link?
  42. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater -- Thank you for adding the new photo, it saved my few guesses. Could I suggest you to think of "tie-hua" technique, instead of "an-hua"? In this theory, the motifs are not carved but stuck to the vase. Here is an example.
  43. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater -- I insist it's porcelain ware as I can't defy the white color of the body, nowhere near earthenware. The darken dots, if I was right, are micro dents on the underlying body as Kaolinite mud hasn't been ground fine enough. It's another good sign that the mud was not processed by powered machine. I therefore could think it's older than 50 years at least.
  44. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    I can see the yellow vase now, and you're right, that's the only other similar piece I'vee seen so far. Where did you find it? You said you don't know if its genuine or not?

    I'm conflicted on the whole porcelain vs. earthenware... The parts on top that I recently wore off are BONE white and very shiny, they look exactly like porcelain, but the rest of the body looks grainy like earthenware, though it could just be that it wasn't ground up enough like you said, and the yellow glaze filled the indents and made it look darker. I'm not an expert though. I did look up some examples of Chinese earthenware and some of them were quite light in color, but nowhere near as shiny and white as the parts I scrathed off on top. I really don't know what to think. You seem to know your though

    I think you're right about the tie-hua technique, that looks a lot like what I have here. They don't look like they were stuck on though, I can see marks left by incising tools. Not sure what that means

    Here is the Meizan bowl. Its one of the best pieces of Satsuma I've ever had. Yabu Meizan was one of the greatest Satsuma artists of all time. It was painted with a brush made from a single hair. The little samurai on the bottom are playing Go and Shogi with each other. A 4.25" tall plain vase by him sold for $28,000.
  45. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    Stillwater -- It would be long talk into the porcelain technique, I just try to give info that immediately related to your question. "tie-hua" doesn't necessarily mean there is no carving required. On the contrary, most "tie-hua" has carvings to refine the motif, especially on this kind of huge vase. Combined techniques in short.
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  47. racer4four racer4four, 3 years ago
    Stillwater have you been drinking from VintageFrans water supply?
    Your posts go off!
    Ignorance here admitted to - I have never seen a large Chinese vase in yellow like this and I love the shape, the decoration but most of all the colour.
  48. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    What the HECK is all that senzvofi?? Someone's off their meds
  49. shrine shrine, 3 years ago
    idcloisonne - Thank you for the clarification of words, inspiring. The criteria of valuation of chinese porcelain is almost right, with few exceptions.
  50. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Well, thanks for coming around idcloisonne : ) I'm going to try to get the base off and see what I can get for it as a vase. Maybe show it to my friend at Bonham's, see if its worth getting the hole restored. Wish me luck buddy, thanks for all your time and info. Thank you too Shrine, you've been a very big help

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