Help with identifying the age and rarity of my black vase

Started by nonstopmuzik, Dec 14, 2016, 01:50:31

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Hello everyone,

Recently I bought this vase but now I'm wondering that someone could help me with identifying the age of this vase? I searched on Gotheborg and found out that this Tongzhi mark dates from the Guangxu period, or am I wrong? Is this a rare piece or not? :)

Thanks in advance.


Your pictures are way to small, upload a closeup picture of the faces and also one of the foot rim, but from what I can see, the black is very unusual for this type of vase, and I have never seen a bottom done with the black, it looks like someone painted in the black at a latter date or it is bran new in my view.


Thank you Stan for your comment. The owner said he had it from his father which means it is more than 50 years old (I know people lie about the age, but I really believed this guy because I bought alot 19th century vases from him that day, and I'm sure they are authentic ;) ) But with this one, indeed, never seen a piece like this, that's why I bought it. But like you askes, I've taken bigger pictures :)


And one of the foot rim ;)


What else that I almost forgot to mention is something that was also very strange :) The porcelain is very thin... It has a black underground and if I put in in daylight I can see through the porcelain from the inside (I can see the pictures very good). :) Really strange, I know.... But like I already said... I don't believe it's brand new... but I could believe it's (only) 50 years old... :)

Kind regards,


Could you post one more close up picture of the black where it meets the white on the front of the vase it looks like the black was painted over the white ground, I wonder if the black enamel was even fired, if it was painted on later and not fired you might be able to scrape it off, it looks like a possible repair and someone painted it black to cover the damage, possibly.


Also note the foot rim looks like someone added the dirt to make it look older than it really is, If belonged to his dad then I do not think that his dad had it very long.


Stan, I didn't get the time to take another picture yet but I have noticed something else yesterday. The vase has been repaired on the inside... There were two cracks in the vase that are about 20cm long.... (not from falling, just two crack in the middle of the vase) and they put some kind of glue inside the vase... I guess to avoid the cracks becoming bigger... Another thing that I noticed are the black spots on the inside of the vase, similar to vases that are more than 100 years old. These spots are not painted but can be felt (it feels like a puncture...) and they are looking very real to me... not made to look older.

About the black painting: It is fired and I'm not able to remove it.. The black painting is even underneath the pink and orange colours...

So what I'm guessing (it's a guess..; I don't want to look as a wiseacre :) )
I think that the vase has been damaged while it was made and to blur the crack they thought 'let's paint it black so it's harder to notice' (and I think it's true that it's harder to notice because it took me until yesterday to find it :) ). Considering the black spots (and I understand that the foot rim looks like it has been made to look older, I do believe you there :) ) and the style of the paintings I think it has been made in the first half of the 20th century or even a little bit earlier... But if you read this and think I'm totally wrong... I believe you and will follow your thoughts :)

Thanks for the help that you've already given and maybe will give after reading this haha :p


The shape of the vase, its foot rim and the "ears" (neck decoration) could possibly mean the porcelain body is from the early 20th century. However, all of the painted decoration is of a later period, which means an old, abraded or sparse decoration may have been overpainted.

The black background and bottom with these people decoration cannot be older than second half of 20th century. This only based on these too small pictures. Really good closeups (partial) with good resolution which show minute details of decoration, glaze and colors may provide further hints.
This type of painting, the faces, etc., as well as the colors and especially color decoration clearly shows to second half of 20th century too.
Summarizing this, vase body may be old, but decoration cannot be older than mid-20th century or later. Over-painting is quite common to lift the perception of value, unfortunately, the last treatment, the over-painting is used as actual age. Thus, this item might have vintage, but no antique age.
My personal opinion.