Posts Tagged ‘Mandarin’

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

Mandarin mug to jug transformation, c.1840

Monday, February 15th, 2016

This is one of the more unusual transformation pieces I have in my collection. Much like the butterfly painted on the reverse side, it began life as one thing and transformed into something entirely different. I call it a metamorphosis mug. Made between 1830 and 1850, this Chinese export porcelain mug in the Famille Rose Mandarin palette was converted to a milk jug with the addition of a silver spout. It has two decorated panels, one with a courtyard scene and the other with images of exotic birds, butterflies, fruits and flowers. It stands 4-1/2 inches high and is 5-1/2 inches wide from handle to spout.

The silver mount has an 1871 London hallmark. Although I have many examples of silver spouts, handles and lids, it is rare to find hallmarks that date and place a repair. I particularly like the ornate sparrow beak spout.

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This mug was happy being a mug and felt no need to spread its wings and become a jug.

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Photo courtesy of Mimi’s Antiques

Chinese Mandarin cup, c.1760

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

This cup is a mess! It’s a 2.5 inch high Chinese porcelain cup from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) with multi-color enamel decoration in the Mandarin style. Well over 150 years ago when it dropped and shattered into 12 pieces, it was most likely taken to an itinerant “dish mender” who carefully applied 15 metal staples to bring it back to life. A bit of plaster was used to fill in a few gaps left by lost fragments. Past owners really must have cherished this little mug, as it managed to survive many centuries looking like this. As my grandmother would have said, “Oy Vey!”

This cup, in much better condition than mine, shows what an intact example looks like.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

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.

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

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Photo courtesy of eBay

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.

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This tea cup still has its original handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of Hundred & One Antiques

Chinese teapot with silver spout & wood handle, c.1750

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

This large globular form porcelain teapot was made in China during the middle of the 18th century and has not one but two 19th century inventive repairs. It measures 6″  high and 9-1/2″  wide from handle to spout. Both sides have the same Mandarin decoration in the famille rose palette, depicting a family scene in a garden with trees and distant mountains.

But what makes this piece so special is the unusual shaped silver replacement spout with a heart shaped back plate and the overscaled wood replacement handle in silver mounts. I imagine the wood handle was intended for a larger teapot, but it might have been the only option available at the time of repair. I found this teapot in the UK and I have seen the same replacement spout on another teapot of the same period, also in the UK. Although most antiques collectors would rather have an example of this teapot in “perfect” condition, I much prefer the whimsy and uniqueness of this survivor with its quirky embellishments.

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This teapot of similar form and decoration suggests what the original handle and spout on my teapot might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Mandarin bell shaped mug, c.1770

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

In honor of Mother’s Day I am presenting a Chinese porcelain bell shaped mug from the Qianlong period (1736-1795), decorated with a domestic scene, including a mother and her children. The colorful decoration is hand painted in the Famille Rose palette and includes cobalt blue borders, floral sprays and cartouches. I particularly like the young boy balancing on a rickety red lacquered table while holding a bird above his head, which I can imagine resulted in his mother saying “son, get down from that table NOW or you will fall and break your neck.”

I am hoping the boy survived his table climbing antics unharmed, but it seems this 6-1/4″ tall mug was not so lucky. Sometime in its early life, the mug slipped from the hands of a thirsty drinker and it crashed to the floor, resulting in a broken handle and a large crack to one side. Because Chinese porcelain was expensive and highly valued in the 18th century, it was taken to a “china mender” who formed a bronze replacement handle and covered it in woven rattan for insulation. Four metal staples were applied to stabilize the crack and the mug was able to be used again.

Happy Mother’s Day and remember children, listen to your mother!

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This mug with similar form and decoration still has its original loop handle intact.

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Photo courtesy go Auction Atrium

Badly damaged Chinese teapot, c.1780

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

What a sad little teapot this is. Once pristine, this late 18th century Chinese porcelain globular-form teapot with Mandarin decoration in the Famille Rose palette has suffered years of abuse and neglect. It stands 5-1/4″ high and is 7-1/2″ wide from the tip of the spout to the end of the handle. I am told the hand painted decoration shows the Qianlong King making a secret visit to the river bank. Not only did the original porcelain loop handle fall off after the teapot slipped from the hands of whoever was serving tea or tidying up, but the body cracked and is chipped in numerous places. Regardless, the teapot must have been highly valued, as it was brought to a china restorer who created a rattan-wrapped metal replacement handle sometime in the 1800s. The lid did not fare well either, as after it shattered into 6 pieces at a later date, it was hastily glued back together, leaving many large gaps. But at last it ended up in my collection where it proudly stands alongside hundreds of other wounded survivors living together in solidarity.

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

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Photo courtesy of William Word Fine Antiques

Mandarin teapot with Rococo spout, c.1790

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Chinese export globular form porcelain teapot made in China in the late 1700’s and painted with polychrome underglaze enamels in the Mandarin palette.

Teapot measures 6-1/4″ tall by 9-1/2″ wide.

This unusual Rococo style silver replacement spout was added after the original spout broke off.

As an added bonus, the chipped lid is repaired with three metal staples.

The teapot below shows what the original spout on my mended teapot would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Richard Gould Antiques

“Port scene” Qianlong mug, c.1780

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I seem to have many Chinese export mugs in my collection, including this large one with an intricately painted Mandarin port scene. I purchased this, along with another large mug, in London last year.

I love the stylized cobalt blue underglaze border along the rim and the beautiful colors of the famille rose palette, highlighted with gilt detailing.

Mug proudly stands 6-1/4″ high and is 5-1/4″ in diameter.

It is possible that the fine rope covering on the bronze replacement handle was itself replaced, after a more typical rattan covering wore out over many years of use.

The bottom of the mug has an early hand painted “25” mark, possibly a dealer’s price or inventory number.

This mug with similar form and decoration still has its original porcelain handle intact.

Photo courtesy of Mimi’s Antiques