Started by Lee Seng Kong, Jun 11, 2017, 10:25:25

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Lee Seng Kong

Attached photos shows 3 jar in different shades pf blue.
I was adviced that the 3 different shades of blue could represent Mid-Ming (far left photo). Late Ming (middle photo) and Qing (far right photo).

Is the advice correct?

Photo of base is attached, but I cannot see any difference to indicate which period these were made.
So, could the different shades be caused by different  ?heat intensity? in the kiln?..hence, they were made in the same period, regardless of the shades of blue.
Could it be Vietnamese (Annamese?)
Any other opinion is most appreciated.


Maybe someone else here knows. I cannot help. I have never seen such a decoration among  Chinese ceramics. The shape with four lugs on top is also somewhat infrequent.
If this is Chinese and not Vietnamese, then I would suggest to look at southern kilns for more information. Unfortunately, we have little access to information on southern kilns, here talking of a region from Guangzhou to Yunnan. The products of kilns in those areas,and those in the coastal areas of southeastern China are often not well known, or not mentioned in books, only those of the mainstream kilns. The reason may be that those kilns frequently produced wares used by the common people only.

Lee Seng Kong

Thank-you Peter for your time.

Below deck  are some info.from the Internet (Pinterest), describing the photo of a very similar item, which I am not allowed to attach in this forum.

Whilst I have some prior knowledge on these particular questions on this forum is........whether the item was produced and reproduced from Ming to Qing.....and,can one  judge  by the 3 different shades of blue.......OR, they were of the same period (Ming), but the different shades was caused by the "heat intensity" in different parts of the kiln,

BTW, the color of the item shown in Pinterest is nearer to the middle photo attached.....
and,  which of the 3 shades of these 3 items can be describes as .... cobalt blue......Mohammedan blue ......chemical blue ???

General note:- Having read some description of the shades of blue , I am still no confident how to describe the shades of association with these photos can give a better guide.

Another controversy is this ...another collector referred to the item as "Chicken-Clawed Dragon Jar", and is an antique from Vietnam, and I was assuming that he might be right...on the basis that he must have gathered the label "Chicken-Clawed Dragon Jar" from some books since it is unlikely that he coined up the label himself.

Or he is wrong and the provenance given on-line is correct.

Is there someone on this forum who can advice further?

(Zhangzhou ware jar with dragon design
Ming dynasty, late 16th-early 17th century
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear, colorless glaze
Zhangzhou ware
H x W: 27.2 x 23.9 cm (10 11/16 x 9 7/16 in)
China, Fujian province, Zhangzhou kilns
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art)


Hi Lee Seng Kong, sorry I can't help much, but looking at your jars, I have never seen a decoration like this before, my understanding is that the dragons were supposed to be fierce looking with teeth, scales and claws, these look like something from the 20th century, tame like someones pet or something, they almost look like modern day cartoons, I have never seen such dragons on Chinese or Vietnamese porcelain, at least not on Antiques.


We cannot be sure if the Vietnamese dragon is expressed the same way as in China. But I for sure have never seen this. So, if the picture would have been from the Sackler gallery, you could try to find a similar item on the website of the Smithsonian, where the Freer and Sackler galleries are located now, it seems. That is an institution that is likely above doubt regarding authenticity or origin.
And no, the blue colors (if it was Chinese) could hardly be used for dating. I do not think one of the jars has Mohammedan blue, but apart from this, I have seen items from the same period, kiln and design/shape, which had different blue tones. This was often due to availability or other reasons.


Zhangzhou ware it is...
I found it. Here is the link to the Smithsonian:

There is really little information available, even in Chinese. One source seems to say it was made near the end of the Ming dynasty. Zhangzhou was almost exclusively producing for export, which may be the reason that this is better known abroad than in China. The type of other wares exported at about the same time are also often better known in SE Asia or Japan; this one can be found in western collections too.

Lee Seng Kong

Thanks for sharing Peter.

The on-line ifno. I gathered it from this web-site where the provenance is provided...also the photo of their similar item.

I may not be wrong to think that this item was made in the Ming period and continued to the Qing period by the same kiln, if the blue pigment is to be judged by due to the quite drastic shades.

Can you please advice me how to describe the different shades of blue.....dark cobalt blue for the far left photo?.......etc etc.

Chemical blue.......when was this blue started to be used ?

Thanks Peter