Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Chinese mug with metal handle, c.1780

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the late 1700s for export to Europe and North America. It is painted in the Famille Rose palette with polychrome enamels and depicts a domestic scene with family members gathered around a large green table. I particularly like the porcelain teapot and cups on the table, as well as vases and garden seats nearby. It measures 6.25 inches tall and 4.5 inches across the top.

At some point in this mug’s early life something went awry. We will never know for sure if a scullery maid, a small child or a cat knocked over the mug, causing the handle to snap off. But rather than toss out the broken pieces, the owner brought them to a clever chap who made a simple bronze replacement handle. Many years later the handle was painted white, and now is discolored a sickly yellow. I am tempted to strip off the offensive veneer to reveal the rich bronze color beneath, but for now I will keep it as is.

This mug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original loop handle on my mug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of The Saleroom

Chinese teapot with wood handle, c.1750

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

This beautiful porcelain teapot was made in China in the mid-1700s and is decorated with cherry blossoms, bamboo, and birds using cobalt blue underglaze with red and gilt overglaze enamels. It stands 5 inches high and is 7.25 inches wide from handle to spout. The matching lid has a skep shaped knob.

For me, the real beauty of this teapot is in the overscaled wood replacement handle, which would look more at home on a pewter teapot of the same period. I have many teapots in my collection with similar wood replacement handles all made with an electric log splitter, each with slight variations. I find the fanciful carved wood handle is in direct contrast to the simple globular form of the body, making for a quirky mashup. Naturally, I prefer this unique example over a “perfect” one any day.

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This teapot with similar form shows what the original loop handle on mine might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneers

Chinese dollhouse snuff bottle, c.1700

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

I seem to have a thing for miniatures. I marvel at the craftsmanship of creating tiny versions of larger pieces, which requires more time and skill, as well as good eyesight and nimble fingers. When I was at a street market in Egypt many years ago, I saw hundreds of lanterns made of tin and painted glass. One vendor had minuscule working lanterns, no more than 3 inches, which held tiny birthday cake candles. Even though they were a fraction of the size of the other lanterns, they were the same price and took just as long to make, if not longer.

So you can imagine how I was doubly thrilled when I found this miniature porcelain dollhouse snuff bottle with an inventive repair. It was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), has blue underglaze decoration of figures, and measures 2.75 inches tall. But there’s more to the story, as this bottle started its life as a vase. Well over 150 years ago, after its neck broke off, a silversmith added a silver collar with etched decoration, cork, and a top attached to a spoon, transforming the broken vase into a functional snuff bottle. It has a sword shaped Dutch hallmark dating the repair to the mid-1800s.

I now have five tiny Chinese dollhouse miniatures in my collection and try not to inhale too deeply around them.

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This pair of miniature vases with similar form and decoration show what the original neck on my vase looked like before it was transformed into a snuff bottle.

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Photo courtesy of Santos

Chinese jug with pewter handle, c.1775

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

This porcelain cream jug with baluster form and a sparrow beak spout was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-96.) It is decorated in the Famille Rose palette and measures 4 inches high and is about 4 inches wide. The floral swag decoration suggests it was made for the French market.

I can just imagine a French maid in the early 1800s, clearing the breakfast table, grabbing this little jug with fingers still dripping with butter from making croissants, and letting it slip and tumble to the ground. Sadly, the cover and handle must have broken into too many pieces to repair, so a tinker was engaged and created a pewter replacement handle. Not sure if the shattered cover or the maid with shattered nerves were ever replaced.

This jug with similar form and decoration shows what the the original handle and cover on mine looked like before it took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Dando

Pair of Famille Rose dragons cups, c.1890

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

This pair of unmarked Chinese porcelain cups from the Guangxu period (1875-1908) are nicely decorated in the Famille Rose palette with peach trees, dragons chasing flaming pearls, and koi fish in waves. Each measures nearly 2.75 inches high and 4 inches in diameter.

It’s hard to tell if the bronze handles, most likely added in the early 1900s, were replacement handles or if they were attached to transform handless bowls into drinking cups.

Finding pairs of inventive repairs is uncommon and I am always on the lookout for more examples. In the coming weeks I will show other pairs from my collection so stay tuned.

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Chinese mug with multiple repairs, c.1750

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the mid 1700s. It has floral decoration in the Famille Rose palette and stands 5.5 inches tall.

It appears that someone literally loved this mug to pieces. I imagine that the person who dropped it must have been heartbroken, watching it tumble to the ground where it suffered multiple breaks, chips, and cracks. The early metal repairs, done over 150 years ago, included a band along the rim to stabilize cracks, braces on the handle, and rivets to reinforce four symmetrical chips. Much how time can mend a broken heart, a skilled restorer did an excellent yet eccentric job with this mug break-up.

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Chinese teapot with butterflies, c.1780

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

This porcelain globular-form footed teapot was made in China in the late 1700s and is decorated in the famille rose palette with flowers, butterflies, and a diaper pattern border along the rim and on the lid. It measures 4 inches high.

A sturdy metal spout stands at attention, replacing the original porcelain one that was damaged. At a later date, a metal chain was attached to keep the lid from going astray. I have numerous metal replacement spouts just like this and feel that repairers had a stock of them on hand to be attached to damaged teapots. Look for an upcoming post where I compare and contrast similarly made replacement spouts.

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This teapot, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original spout on mine may have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Chinese carved carnelian brooch, c.1920

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

This oval carved carnelian brooch with a pierced floral pattern in a simple silver setting was made in China around 1920. It measures 1.25 inches by 1.5 inches. After it dropped and broke in half, a resourceful jeweler laced it back together with silver wire, using the pierced holes in the design.

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Chinese bowl for “Mifs Cox”, c.1740

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

This Chinese bowl, which measures 2.75 inches high and 5.75 inches diameter, is decorated with flowers, pagodas, and bridges in the Japanese Imari style and palette. It was made for export to Europe in the early to mid 1700s with just the blue underglaze decoration, but soon after arriving, it was overpainted in red and gold to keep up with the public’s new demand for colorful porcelain. This method of overpainting is often referred to as clobbering.

You may wonder why I am featuring a bowl that appears to have had its broken halves merely glued together. But the “Mifs Cox” red mark on the underside – she was most likely the original owner of the bowl – gives insight into how the bowl was repaired. An early form of ceramic repair practiced in England during the late 1700s to middle 1800s was called “china burning,” in which broken ceramics were re-fired at a low temperature, causing the broken pieces to fuse together. The most renowned china burner was Edward Combes of Queen Street, Bristol, who signed his pieces on the underside in red script, similarly to the mark on this bowl. I have a few examples of pieces repaired and signed by Combes and will post them in the coming months.

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Chinese coffee can, c.1750

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

This cylindrical form porcelain coffee can (or coffee cup, outside of the UK) is decorated with cobalt blue underglaze decoration and has brown glaze along the rim. It was made in China during the Qianlong period (1711-1799) for export most likely to North America and Europe. It measures 2.5 inches tall.

Well over one hundred years ago, this small cup slipped from someone’s grasp, resulting in its handle snapping off. Rather than being tossed out, the precious cup was taken to a “china mender” who fashioned a sturdy iron replacement handle wrapped in rattan. The woven rattan acts as an insulant from the hot contents and allows for a tighter grip.

This coffee can with the same form and similar decoration shows what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Etsy