Chinese Porcelain Books

Started by bokaba, May 17, 2016, 09:13:02

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Peter and Stan, what books on Chinese porcelain do you recommend?


Hi Bokaba, I would start with the E-book you can get on this site, I highly recommend it.


I ordered the e-book and it is quite informative. While the e-book mentions certain types of motifs, colors, themes, etc. that were used, I was wondering if there are any reputable guides that show what colors, shapes, designs, etc. were used in specific periods.


All the books you will find contains general information and stories about what type of materials, and probably shapes they used in a certain period, but nothing like a complete "guide" to Chinese porcelain and all the eras. If that book should exist it will probably be a really super big book and probably super expensive. If you want a book where it tells you from this year to this year, they use all this shapes, dimensions, and colorful illustrations you can stop your search right now. The most complete and easy to understand guide I found is this website E-book, believe me.

Most books will analyze one or two specific elements on Chinese porcelain but you are lucky if they include nice photos, dimensions or even shapes or relate what they teach you to the actual pieces. I have bought a few Christies and Sotheby's auction books to see really high end examples.I have bought most cheap and medium priced books to only read stories that confuse me to death because they speak more about  Chinese history than Chinese porcelain. I'm going to save you a few bucks here and suggest you to google metropolitan museum of art books for some books they sale in eBay for around 30 to 50 bucks and you can get them for free if you know where to look.

good luck


I just received Japanese Porcelain and Chinese Export Porcelain books. They appear to provide pretty good information and have a lot of pictures, though many are black and white.


Would you recommend Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty? Has anyone read it? I guess it's a good sign it's available in Chinese as well.


I have the Japanese book by Schiffer, it is a good book.


> I guess it's a good sign it's available in Chinese as well.

I would not depend on that. I have not read it, but is it from a western author?  And, what do you want to learn, do you read Chinese, or only the characters?
The whole scope of more than two thousand years is much too much for a collector or dealer. It is better to limit the time span, to avoid having to learn too much.

The best is to buy items from well known authors/specialists in the field. Judging by the name it could be just an overview over Chinese ceramics history with some pictures perhaps.
Black and white pictures can mean two things. One is saving on printing cost. A book with lots of color images is much more expensive than one that is only black and white. The research reports from China I have seen are mostly all black and white.
Otherwise black and white photographs may mean they are old. You need to be aware that the content may be outdated. Many Chinese books are only sold for a number of years until they go out of print, and they seem to rarely reprint them. There are just too many new ones emerging.
Chinese information might be updated quicker than that in the west, so a book written ten years ago may already miss the newest information. As China's concerned research depends in part on ongoing archaeology projects, it may change as soon as new facts are discovered. Western knowledge is more based on information from the past. That means from the study of known, old collections, shipping records, and marine archaeology. Only the latter may lead to new discoveries, so to say.

I use mostly Chinese books and could recommend some for study, but they are all in Chinese, and not necessarily have many pictures. What is important is that details of the bottom is shown, there are just too many that lack that.
Anyway, you should fist decide what periods you are interested in.


Thanks Peter. I do not speak Chinese and only recognize some characters from my limited knowledge of Japanese. I can't say that the book "Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty" has black and white photographs. It was written by a couple of American authors and number of Chinese authors from Yale and the National Museum of China. Only one edition, 2010, exists. The other books were the ones with black and white pictures. I may try to find a copy in a library or bookstore first.


Okey here is the link I mentioned:{806EC8A5-8B37-459A-941F-B87D83CC1B5E}&dept=0&fmt=0

It's a link to museum out of print books and preview to new ones. It doesn't hurt to at least browse trough the free books. I don't know if this is an okey link, so please delete if I did wrong.

Probably most of the "antique" porcelain (if you are lucky) you will find as a picker will be republic period and late Qing so focusing on those periods will be of great help.