Two Monochrome Plates-Photos of base for comparison study

Started by Lee Seng Kong, Jun 25, 2017, 13:01:22

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Lee Seng Kong

Hi ,

Enclosed are 2 monochrome plates showing some interesting details:-

Left photo -A "Powder Blue" Plate Penciled in gold:-

The plate was finely potted with very well proportioned and balanced dimensions, with even glaze through out the body...both internally and externally

Inner foot-rim is slightly slanted and about  6-7 mm high.......and the base is under a brownish glaze.

The base of the foot rim base feels smooth and with a slight slant from the outer edge to the inner edge.

A similar plate is in the Sarawak Museun and cataloged as late Ming ....which is quite surprising looking at the this type of base with distinct and almost perfect circles.

Other closeup photos (in follow-up post) depicts very finely penciled decorations, unfortunately, in my plate, only minute gold decorations remained.

Fortunately,the museum piece shows clearly the gold  decorations, where was remaining.  (see follow-up photo for the museum piece phtographed from the Museum Catalogue)

I am of the opinion that because the decorations were finely drawn in gold colour, this plate is of "official wares" as compared to "common wares"....hence much effort was put by the potter to make sure the base is smooth and with perfectly incised circles.

Dimension:-H 4.8 x 26.5 dia .    base dia. 14.0 ( cm)

The dimension of the museum piece is 33.5 cm dia....... larger than mine.

Right photo of a deep "sea-green" plate:-

Inner foot rim is slanted and about 10 mm high.....the edge of the foot rim is glazed ....and the base is under a brownish glaze.... feels smooth and with a slight slant from the outer edge to the inner edge.....with spur marks on the base

........Dimension:- H 6.0  x 36.4 dia .    base dia. 21.6 ( cm)

Very heavy with thick wall.

Is it Korean or Japanese and of which cenTury ?

more photos will follow

Lee Seng Kong


Note:- the earlier photos do not do justice to the colour of the plates.....especially the green plate which has  a beautiful green sheen especially on the outer cavetto.


The base of the two plates shot they are nothing traditional Chinese.
The rings look like impressions of potter's wheels, which would mean metal wheels swere used.
In China no metal wheels were in used in those times.
Either these are from elsewhere, or they are more recent fakes, in my view.

Lee Seng Kong

Well Peter,

On the Blue Plate:-

My research is based on the Journal "CERAMICS IN THE SARAWAK MUSEUM, 1988  publication by Mr. Lucas Chin ( a local Chinese) , Director of the Museum.( see photo no 1 of the cover of the journal)

Photo no. 2-a page extract from the Journal:-

There-in....a Mr. Tom Harrison ( a British) was mentioned.......Tom was the curator of the museum from 1947 to 1966
Also mentioned  is a certain Mr. Feng Xian Ming (from mainland China) who visited the museum in 1981 and  confirmed the dating of the ceramics in the museum

Photo no. 3 ( to follow) shows the page of the plate in the Journal  from where I took the museum photo.

Thus with these provenance, sorry to say, I find it hard to accept that the blue plate is a recent fake in your opinion.


You are free to believe what you wish. I am providing only an opinion based on what I learnt and still learn, from Chinese/Taiwanese sources, and experience. I do know more in some areas than others, the more than a thousand years of porcelain history makes no one an expert.
However I wish to make a statement. What I know is to the larger part from Chinese sources, not Western or SE Asian. Chinese knowledge has increased much in the last twenty or more years thanks to research and ongoing archaeological excavations of both kiln sites and tombs. They now know much more about these subjects than decades ago, thanks to huge numbers of shards recovered from kiln waste, etc. However, even now new research results continually invalidate knowledge from the early 21st century or 20th century. How could we rely on information thirty years back? I would really recommend to get some newer books to verify these things.

As to these plates, I am rarely as convinced as here that this is an inappropriate attribution. The top of the plates looks good enough, but the one that gives the appearance of a Longquan plate is complete wrong on the underside. My view is that either
the bottom was 'refurberished', or that it is not Chinese; otherwise it has to be a fake. There has never been a bottom over-painted or over-glazed like this among Chinese porcelain. By chance I know a little bit more about Longquan wares than others, I am even own some Longquan wares. Thus I am pretty sure that unless the thick brown color was added later, this must be a fake. Longquan wares never have such a base.
I also emphasize again that there is no reason that Chinese porcelain should have such  concentric rings as the other plate shows. Looks like a modern wheel impression to me, but maybe here too some "treatment" was effected, because a dark base like this is not very common either. Bases usually remain unglazed or are glazed. Very rarely such blackish matter is applied to color it. Any explanation for these bases....?

Lee Seng Kong

Hi Peter,

On the blue plate

To your question...any explanation for these bases

I can only refer to the provenance provided....but if the provenance is not good enough
I have no further explanation.

On the green plate

I know the green plate is not a Longquan plate.

The actual question I raised before was.. .....Is it Korean or Japanese and of which century ?

Notwithstanding whether one is free to believe what one wishes,,,,,,I trust that this platform allow participants to address contentious issues without malice as you may be right  that the provenance provided may be out of date.


Never mind. The three great kilns notable for green wares are: Longquan, Yue, and Yaozhou kilns. Of these only Longquan could have this type of green glaze. The shape of the bottom/foot rim would also correspond to Longquan, but...
I do not know of any other major Chinese kilns that might have been firing this.

Maybe there is an explanation how this was fired, if the bottom was not over-painted or over-glazed later? Can you see an unfired area or unfired spots (at least three)?  Remember that I once said that items could not be strung up for firing. So they always needed some area that is unglazed/unpainted to stand on. I can see none in these pictures. If there is really none, the only way would be that after firing the item was turned upside down and after applying the bottom glaze, firing that at low temperature (with high-temp. firing the top glaze might be affected). Or, the bottom may have been over-painted without firing. Simple logic conclusion which can be arrived at by considerations on how items are fired.

An item can not stand on a glazed bottom during firing, because the glaze will act as a very strong glue and the item would adhere to whatever it stands on. Even if removal was possible, the break would be visible.

Lee Seng Kong

Hi Peter,

I am not able to detect unfired  spots.....but what is very obvious is the round spur/stilt marks  as shown on the attached close-up of the base.

If these marks are of no help, I should drop this subject.


I have noticed these marks too. But the point is if these are support points where the plate stood during firing, the unfired clay should be visible. What I am saying is even IF these are really traces a the firing support, the gray matter covering them must have been applied after the original firing, otherwise the color would be different. That is point one. Point two is IF these are traces of a firing support, then we may be looking at something that is probably not from the period from Song to Qing dynasties. I know firing support traces with such a large diameter only from pre-Tang ceramics.
So we are at the starting point again. Something is not quite as it should be, although judging by these pictures it might be old. A hands-on inspection allowing examination of glaze with a magnifier, evaluating weight and sound of the plate might help clarify things - perhaps.
Just one more thing, museums are not immune against fakes. This includes major institutions is the west and in China.

The only advice I can give is this. Do not pay too much attention to these two items, go on studying ceramics yourself and you will get to the bottom of it earlier and later.

Lee Seng Kong

Thanks Peter,

I have seen this  green plate posted on-line once before.....lets see if I can track of down to get more info.

Aside, I sure would not advice the younger generation to start or continue to collect Chinese Antiques since one has to be an expert to identify an Original antiques.

With 95 to 98% of fakes around in quite recent years and being a "starter", chances to identify the real antiques to buy is near zero.....even when one wants to pay through the nose.

And the chances to bump into a genuine piece  selling at a low price is highly unlikely nowadays based on these statistics.

It can only  get worse as time passes with more and more fakes flood the market, whilst the genuine pieces becomes lesser and lesser as most would have  been  collected by those who are in the know.

Better to collect newer art-work with genuine certifications....such as tea-pots by well know Chinese artist(still living) may be a better bet.

That's my opinion.


As an alternative, would you encourage people to collect good replicas/reproduction of antiques and are certified as replicas/reproduction by the seller?


If someone is interested in antiques, he will not collect replicas. If you only wish beautiful things, that might go, but many of the items (e.g. Martaban jars) are not really esthetically beautiful.
The other thing is that some collect antiques because they may keep or even increase their value over time. It is each collector's own decision.

Lee Seng Kong

Hi Peter,

I certainly agree that Martaban Jars are not aesthetically beautiful.
From the early age of Tang, they were basically quite plain since the technology and art-work at that time were be quite primitive then.
Moreover, they were made as utility wares ?not for decorations/display.
Even so, as time passed, decorations were added, be it that they were simplistic with little colour variations.
The decorations improvement were definitely not of the standard compared to Ming to Qing Official /Imperial wares as these were  common wares.
They also cannot compare with ?export ware? for the European Market since the Europeans were much more sophisticated than the local natives
The point is?.the jars are appreciated for it?s intrinsic value?.its age, how it survived for centuries when they were used daily, how some of these heavy jars survived long over-land journeys, survived fire which was a  common occurrence since the long houses were made of wood,  how mind boggling that the cannibalistic and head-hunting native in those ancient days were making use of items ?Made In China????and what tales these jar could tell of the behaviour of tribes who were using them.
One thing is for sure, the monetary value of these jars has not sky-rocketed but it has increased.
One must also appreciate that most of the wares sent from China to these shores were common wares?..some official ware did arrive here, brought in by rich Chinese Traders and British Colonials.
Imperial wares never reached our shores?.so, the quality of Ming and Qing wares cannot be compared to those found in China.
Even Celadon wares in general, do not command a high price in comparison with Blue and Whites because of its simplicity in form and decorations, and even the variation of decorations were limited and quite often repeated in different forms of Celadon wares.