Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Chinese teapot with hinged lid, c.1770

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

This globular form teapot with hand painted floral decoration in cobalt blue and polychrome enamels was made in China for export to the European market in the mid to late 1700s. It measures 5-3/4″ high and 8-1/2″ wide from handle to spout.

After the teapot was dropped it was taken to a china mender who added an unusual crimped edge pewter sleeve at the base of the spout. Additionally, a hinge was added to attach the lid to the pot. I have many examples in my collection with metal chains added to keep teapots and lids together, but this is the first time I have seen an elaborate hinge of this sort.

IMG_8071 - Version 2

IMG_8072

IMG_8073

IMG_8080

IMG_8074

IMG_8075

IMG_8078

IMG_8084

Chinese jug with silver handle, c.1770

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

This Chinese export baluster form milk jug with sparrow beak spout was made during the Qianlong period (1736-1795). The Mandarin style decoration of a child visiting a doctor or dentist while his parents look on is finely painted in the Famille Rose palette using polychrome enamels. Jug measures 5″ high

It is not uncommon to find 200 year old examples of Chinese porcelain with inventive repairs, as they were used daily and accidents happened. What makes this one extra special is the finely made silver replacement handle. It is more common to find replacement handles made of tin with support straps or bronze wrapped with rattan. But judging by the fineness of the repair, the owners were most likely wealthy and took their broken vessel to a silversmith who made this delicate replacement handle. The jug also has a metal staple stabilizing a crack near the rim, further proof of its early, rough life.

IMG_8736 - Version 2

IMG_8742

IMG_8737 - Version 2

IMG_8743

IMG_8738

IMG_8741

IMG_8740

IMG_8745

This jug of similar form and decoration shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like.

jug chinese

Photo courtesy of eBay

Stapled octagonal crab plate, c.1750

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Most people I encounter are astonished the first time they see broken ceramics held together with staples. I was, too, at a young age when I saw a small stapled dish. The first words uttered are typically “how did they do that?” If you type that very question into my search box on this page, a post from a few years ago will pop up and help answer that much asked question.

Sadly, most pieces repaired with staples, aka rivets, are not signed by the menders so we have no idea who repaired them. I have seen 18th century English and American newspaper advertisements and calling cards from tinkers and jewelers offering their repair services, as well as early prints showing “china menders” with their tools. Today, antique ceramics with staple repairs are not uncommon but many rare examples are quickly disappearing, as restorers will carefully remove staples, fill the holes and erase all evidence of the original “honest” repair. Although I have dozens of examples of early staple repair on a variety of forms, I still get a thrill when I encounter a rare or unusual example untouched by a modern restorer.

This porcelain plate was made in Jingdezhen, China, during the Qing dynasty (1740-1760) and measures 8-1/2″ in diameter. It is decorated in the Famille rose palette and features a large blue crab, crayfish, flowers, and a border with gilt detailing. Early in its life it was dropped, cleanly breaking it in half. An experienced china mender reattached the plate using six small evenly spaced brass staples. Repairs such as this are so tight and secure that the plate can be returned to the dinner table without fear of it coming undone. That is, unless another clumsy person lets it slip from his or her hands.

IMG_8772 - Version 2 IMG_8774 IMG_8776 IMG_8788 IMG_8778 IMG_8781 IMG_8784

Another example, nearly identical to mine, is in the permanent collection of the British Museum. It was donated in the 19th century by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, described by Marjorie Caygill, historian of the British Museum, as “arguably the most important collector in the history of the British Museum, and one of the greatest collectors of his age”.

AN00391981_001_l

Photo courtesy of the British Museum

Teapot with Rococo silver spout, c.1750

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

This striking globular form teapot was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-1795) for export to North America and Europe. It stands 5-1/4″ high and is decorated in cobalt underglaze with pavilions on islands in a lakeside setting.

After the original spout became damaged, the teapot was taken to a silversmith sometime in the 19th century, who replaced it with a silver Rococo style spout. I have seen many other examples of the same silver spout used on repaired teapots from the same period, so I imagine they were mass produced. In addition to the replacement spout, the broken handle has been riveted to the body and appears to be a later repair. By this point, the owner was taking no chances and chained the lid to the spout and handle to avoid further damage. On the underside is an etched signature Hood (?), but I am not sure if this was the owner of the teapot or the mender. I am hoping that it’s the latter and am on the hunt for more examples of signed ceramics.

IMG_7846

IMG_7848

IMG_7850

IMG_7851

IMG_7852

IMG_7854

IMG_7855

IMG_7856

IMG_7861

This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what the original spout on my teapot might have looked like.

ChinSalea2 063

Photo courtesy of eBay

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Wishing you all the best during the holiday season and for a healthy and Happy New Year!

IMG_1872

IMG_1721

IMG_1859_2

IMG_3818

IMG_2180

IMG_6950

IMG_3638

IMG_3699

IMG_5678

IMG_3146

Chinese Imari helmut jug, c.1750

Friday, November 28th, 2014

This porcelain helmut-shaped cream jug, decorated in the Imari palette of blue, iron red and gilt, stands 4-1/4″ tall. It was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-1795.) The hand painted decoration of floral sprigs and alternating blue panels suggests it was made for export to the Persian market.

At one point in its early life, the original porcelain handle snapped off, leaving it impossible to gracefully pass the cream at the dining table. It was brought to a tinker or metalsmith who fashioned this ornate replacement handle, possibly repurposed from an existing silver item. The delicate silver replacement is more ornate than the original branch-form handle, but adds just the right touch of class and whimsy.

IMG_8604

IMG_8606

IMG_8607

IMG_8611

IMG_8613

The center jug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on my jug might have looked like.

jugx3

Photo courtesy of Christie’s 

Chinese teapot with European subject, c.1750

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

This delicate porcelain teapot was made in China for export to Europe during the Qianlong reign (1711-1799.) It is decorated “en grisaille”, a pencil style drawing in black, with touches of overglaze enamel of iron red and gilt. The European subject depicts a lady in her boudoir daintily clipping her toe nails as a male attendant watches nearby. This must have been a racy subject for the Chinese porcelain painters, raising more than a few eyebrows in the studio. Decoration of this kind was typically based on current popular engravings, reinterpreted by Chinese painters with sometimes amusing results.

When this 3-3/8″ high teapot dropped and broke in half, a china mender stapled it back together. I like how the bold metal staples and the darkened cracks add another layer of pattern to the decoration. The lid, possibly broken at the same time that the pot was damaged, has since gone missing. I am hoping to make a tin replacement cover for it one day.

IMG_8589

IMG_8591

IMG_8599

IMG_8600

IMG_8596

IMG_8597

IMG_8598

IMG_8603

Chinese export armorial mug, c.1785

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

This sturdy Chinese export porcelain mug dates from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) and has floral decoration and a pseudo armorial cipher/monogram hand painted in the famille rose palette. The mug stands 6-1/2″  high and holds 2 pints of liquid. I am surprised that the entwined handle survived 230 years of use, as they are fragile and are often found broken.

Now, you may wonder “where’s the repair?” The unsigned sterling silver mount along the top with engraved decoration serves a dual purpose. It stabilizes a long vertical crack running the entire length and most likely masks chips along the rim. A beautiful solution which further enhances an already lovely piece.

IMG_8257

IMG_8256

IMG_8259

IMG_8262

IMG_8264

IMG_8266

IMG_8267

This mug is almost identical in form and decoration but does not have the silver rim that mine has.

chinese mug

Photo courtesy of eBay

Amsterdam Bont decorated teapot, c.1740

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

This Qianlong period globular form teapot has a C shaped handle and an inlaid flat lid with round knob. It was made in China in the mid-1700s and stands 4-1/4″  tall and  7-3/4″  from handle to spout. The original blue underglaze decoration fell out of fashion shortly after it was made, as by the mid-1700s more “attractive colors” were the taste of the day. In order to keep up with the sudden demand for polychrome Chinese ceramics, factories in Europe took the unwanted blue and white decorated pieces and overpainted them with brightly colored enamels, often without regard for the original design beneath. This victim of clobbering, as it is also referred to, or Amsterdam Bont, when done in Holland, has been over decorated with the flower basket motif, one of the most popular designs.

The unusual form replacement silver spout appears to have been made by a skilled 18th century silversmith. It replaced a straight spout, but I think this replacement is much more interesting, and adds to the quirkiness of this twice-decorated teapot.

IMG_6081

IMG_6082

IMG_6087

IMG_6084 - Version 2

IMG_6083

This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what the spout on my teapot might have looked like.

1-20633

Photo courtesy of Pater Gratia Oriental Art

London shape tea cup, c.1830

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

This colorful Chinese porcelain London shape tea cup dates from 1820-1850 and is decorated in the Canton rose palette. It measures 2-1/2″  high and has an opening diameter of 3-1/4″ . The outer polychrome enamel Mandarin decoration depicts a scene of scholars in a garden, and the inside of the rim has a deep painted border of dragons with small stylized clouds. This cup was originally a part of a large dinner service, custom ordered by most likely a wealthy English family.

At some point in the early life of the cup, the original porcelain handle snapped off. But rather than simply toss out the damaged goods as we would today, it was brought to a metalsmith, who fashioned a bronze replacement handle in the same form as the original. To me, the dark color and sculptural quality of the replacement handle makes this embellished cup much more interesting than its “perfect” counterpart.

IMG_6088 - Version 2

IMG_6097

IMG_6093

IMG_6098

IMG_6092

IMG_6090

IMG_6094

This tea cup still has its original handle intact.

mandarin cup

Photo courtesy of Hundred & One Antiques