Tag asian

A pair of mysterious cloisonne.

Earlier I wrote about my trip through Chicago and some of the wonderful things that I picked up down there. One of the truly spectacular pieces that I found at an estate were these Chinese cloisonne. They were quite the mystery when I found them. A good mystery, One that I was quite happy to come upon. Here are some pictures and then I’ll start to break down what there is to interpret from the pieces.


Late Qing Dynasty Chinese Fish and Heron Cloisonne Vases

At first glance, I was stunned by their beauty and shape. They were inexpensively priced, so it wasn’t a hard decision. When you shop a lot and collect a lot, you tend to not inspect cheap things so thoroughly at free for all sales. Here are some more photos to get a better idea of the imagery in your head.


Side view

They are decorated top to bottom. In fact, when I was carrying them one time I realized that the entire shape is a fish. That’s where I’ll start, somebody has made this in what I would consider a cheeky manner. If you count the form itself, there are six fish on each face of the cloisonne. There are the two at the top, then there’s another pair underneath the wave and the one being grabbed by the heron. I’m not 100% certain about the species of the fish but I suspect that it is a type of carp native to East Asia and some of China. They could be different species – the artisan has used different colors to represent the same parts of their bodies between them. I.e. one has a blue tailfin when the other has a red tailfin. It could be a decorative difference but it’s good to note.

The bird is native to East Asia. It is a red-crowned crane, one of the rarer cranes. Both the crane and the fish are frequently used as symbols of good fortune, which would make sense with their combination here. I believe the flower is a lily but my knowledge of flowers is mediocre and especially when they are rendered on cloisonne. Guesses there are much appreciated!

For cloisonne, the colors are quite unusual. They have faded with age and aren’t the brilliant renditions of rich color that comes with contemporary cloisonne. The strange seafoam green as the base is a color I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on cloisonne. The water-blue is wonderful. The main color, this deep red, is one that always keeps me coming back to the south of China and items made for Southeast Asia. Though I bought it in Chicago, I’ve begun to wonder if Southeast Asia was not its initial destination.

The last figure I’ll note, because I could keep going but it’s not necessary at this point, is the small little guy hiding at the bottom. The “hidden figure” is what has given me my best hopes of identifying the piece and possible a maker. It would take me through a chase down into the wayback machine but I believe I’ve confirmed my suspicions about the item. I managed to find a similar red cloisonne item bearing traits reminiscent of this piece. And that piece was signed. However, that’s where it becomes more difficult because why would this one not have been signed? Who knows. Seeing that other piece, one of the few pieces I’ve seen that matches the colors, the unusual motifs and even had its own “hidden figures” is the best comparison I’ve come upon. It validates a conclusion that the other  information points towards, that these are made between the end of the 19th century and the early quarter of the 20th century most likely for export to Southeast Asia

Hope all is well, friends!

Chinese and Japanese collection

I love being an antique collector with modern technology. What becomes possible for the amateur collector was only possible for large budget auction houses of the past. Here I’ll make a little “catalog” of the collection that I’ve put together for a theme auction. Many of the pieces I’ve very recently acquired as I’ve been learning a lot about the market in my free time. Keep in mind that I auction things at rated prices and not starting with no reserve. Thanks for reading and viewing! 🙂

Chinese Antiques:

Great pieces. One of the few that I’ve discussed with a true expert in the field. The pair were made off of the same model. Take a look at it. I’ve had these in my collection for a while and I suspect I’ll hold onto them for a while longer. That’s okay, the work into them is beautiful and they’re enamel on copper with extra detail and effort put into coloring the flowers. Not the typical cloisonne.

Blue and white double happiness ginger jar. Unmarked but with strong signs of age. Would be a great decorative addition to any space. I hear blue and white is coming back from a few different fronts.

Our first piece of thai export market porcelain. We’ve been learning a lot more about this type of export china because of our locality. I believe there is quite a bit here but I’ve yet to find a truly extravagant example like some of the museum pieces I’ve seen. Here is a humble, yet smart porcelain tazza.

Early 20th Century Chinese Vintage to Antique:

This is a nice copper matchstick holder made for the tourist market in the early to mid 20th century. It isn’t too big but it really packs a punch in its style, which is almost a repousse manner.

Nice vintage to antique famille rose Chinese bowl. Flower and panel scenes typical of the style.

One of my favorite pieces here, this is a small porcelain jardiniere made in blue and white. Found this little guy hiding in a garage. Will be happy to have it go to a good home where it will be appreciated! 🙂

Vintage urn, my suspicions upon acquiring was that it was around 1960-70. The finial has actual wear and there is serious oxidation under the lid. It could be a bit earlier but I would be surprised of that.

With a 6 character mark, I’m fairly positive that this is an early 20th century porcelain ware. Maybe still an antique by 2017 as a starting point.

A fun, colorful plate from the 30s or 40s.

An early to mid 20th century famille rose style large vase with great scenes. It has some enamel damage but is in decent condition for its age.

Retro China – mid to late 20th Century Vintage:

Strangely enough, one of the heavy hitters of the collection. Found recently, these cinnabar cloisonne combo vases are a rare pickup from the mid to late 20th century. Features cherry blossoms and a lotus flower on the back.

Another interesting find, this vase features more people than any I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if this piece of pottery had over 100 people on it. I assume that it’s a festival make from the mid to late 20th century. It was acquired from the estate of a couple who worked a long time for an airline co.

Another acquisition from the same estate as above. This ceramic pillow was a great addition to our collection. We date it to the same time as previous piece, it may have even been bought at the same location.

An interesting piece of our collection, this was acquired years ago. It’s a ruffled white and blue glass piece made by a studio in china, ca 1960. It has a ground pontil mark, which is quite unusual for this type of ware. This is an antique of tomorrow.

Beautiful modern cloisonne that will sit somewhere stylishly. White, blue and teal for those that are into that.

A good example for the difference between modern, contemporary cloisonne and the antique wares. Look at the brilliant colors that you only see on modern pieces.

A bit earlier. This pickup is classic “retro china.”

Kitsch 1980s export china porcelain tea cup, very fine and light

Resin or resinwood decorative molded vase. I was skeptical at first as it isn’t the quality of the antique pieces but it does fit in rather well with the other pieces.

Modern chinese brush box. It’s a great piece with a wonderful look.

Japanse Antiques:

Sometsuke Edo period Japanese Cup. Have seen it labelled as a tea cup, soba cup, water cup and more. Lovely period styles underneath the light glaze. Condition is less than perfect with a slight crack but truly a great piece with age. Bought from a good estate.

Purchased from the same estate as the Edo period cup, this charger is from a bit later in the 19th century. It is a wonderfully decorated piece and it is much more intricate than others I have seen from the period. Imari Sometsuke again. Is blue and white getting stronger? We’ll see!

More unusual pieces. This polychrome imari bowl is late 19th or early 20th century. It has strange dragons. They look like they want to fight.

Marked Nippon, this piece dates to the turn of the 20th century. It is imitating the European style for export china during the period. The piece itself is marked hand-painted.

Retro Japan:

Brush pots are in. I’m not 100% sure why, but I know that they are. The market for them looks really strong right now. We’ll see how this one does. I added it to my collection recently.

Another recent addition to the collection, this unusual piece is vintage japan.

Another vintage piece, this Imari ware porcelain jardiniere features a wagon.

Cute modern dotted Japanese cups or bowls.

Hope you enjoy!