Any help on info for some small bowls I bought in Beijing

Started by chock, Mar 29, 2018, 06:42:44

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I acquired these bowls in 1995 during a trip to Beijing - back before China was as open as it is today. I bought them at some sort of flea market of sorts in Beijing back then and have had them basically in storage since. Can anyone help me with any information about them, assess how valuable they might be, and let me know if I might be able to sell them and, if so, where? Otherwise, I?m likely to just use these as cat food dishes or something.



They look very new. It is not a good idea to buy in China. Fakes have always existed but buying in China is a 99.99999% sure  fake guarantee.


heavenguy, what you say is right, but if you knew what to buy then, you would still have been able to get many authentic antiques. That would have been at a time when they just about started to collect themselves. After opening up to tourism the first ones allowed in were the Japanese. That might be one reason that there are many good items in Japan today. They would have been able to pick the good ones in the 80s, and for peanuts.


Thank you Peterp,

I remember one time you said the fake boom started in the 70's and 80's but I didn't know the Japanese got some good deals. What I know about the Japanese is that they enjoyed collecting Jian Yao cups and celadon wares. One time, I bought a Jian Yao cup from a Japanese Person and never bother to look it up. Maybe I'll  go back and see if it's worth the time. Thank you...


Those are Tenmoku bowls, usually. The earliest ones were brought back by monks studying at Tienmu (Tenmoku in Japanese) mountain in China, in the Song dynasty and earlier. Hence the name.
Fakes abound, and new ones are made both in China and Japan - not as fakes.


I see.

I know they are really hard to identify, and I never investigated further because it was marked and every piece I found was unmarked. It wasn't until I saw a one the pdf "Song Dynasty Ceramics - The Ronald W. Longsdorf Collection" that I saw one with a similar mark. That will make it a "A Jianyao Imperial Tribute Tea Bowl" if real. I have never seen and touched one so I'm clueless on how they feel and look.

What caught my attention is that this type of bowls are suppose to be stoneware. So when I pour some water on the unglazed part to clean it, it absorbed the water like in 10 seconds. So I think is very porous. that made me wonder because I thought only earthenware could do that because of the low fired. But then again, it could mean that is very porous and has some age or very new and made in earthenware. But then again, This type of glaze cannot be made in low fired kilns. so who knows... I was reading some stuff on how to identify them and most of the are okey but still I'm very doubtful of its authenticity.


Hi Peter, et. al.,

Thanks for the feedback. I can say that when I bought my bowls in Beijing in 1995 China was not very open to foreigners. I was fortunate to have a little bit of money and job that allowed me to travel to my tech company's new Beijing office. I loved going to off the beaten path flea markets to try to find cool authentic old stuff. I found these at a stall in this flea market that sold a bunch of other old stuff. I can also say that when I bought them there was some "nicks & wear" (which hopefully can see esp. around the bottom edges) that indicated many years of usage. So, even back then it looked like an old piece.

Also, just to share more info here: I purchased an appraisal. The appraisal described the bowls as "Decorated around the exterior with figures in landscape, the base with lingzhi marks." Dated them as "Possibly early 18th century" and put an auction value at $150-$200." I put these bowls up for auction on ebay. If anyone here is interested, they can see the full appraisal, more pictures and (of course) if interested, make a bid.

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