Early ming charger?

Started by Rec, Jul 18, 2020, 17:44:29

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hi guys,
Could this a genunie early ming charger ? Is appr 40 cm diameter and has a very nice sound


A few more close-ups


The painting style of the man/face seems to be a bit odd for the period, as is the style of some of the petals (2nd picture from bottom, left side), in my view. The bottom has obviously been dyed and somebody who had doubts scratched the surface to see what it looks like below. You will also need to look a the gray spots in the blue color. Is there pitting? Does this (the pigment color and pitting) correspond to the Ming dynasty period it pretends to be? Normally it could be expected on Yuan items. Is the pigment color right for the period? A hands-on inspection including magnfication of glaze, bubbles, etc. would be appropriate.
40cm is quite large...did you note that the rim is pristine, without the least scratch of flea bite in the side view?
(An overall view of the decoration may also provide some hints, sometimes, especially when elements or features of wrong periods are present.)


Hi Peter,
Thank you for your thougts very helpfull.
I did'nt pay too much attention to the petals. after your commend i search on the net but coudn't find an other piece with the exact same decoration. However I found these yuan objects on Sottheby and the petal decoration show simularyt, right?

mine biggest concern is the pristine state. the crackles are too clean for an 600 years old plate, right? i expected some dirt in it, but i see too little yellowis crackles. also the wave decoration looks strange. but i do know too little abouth the period so im very currieus what you gonna tell me :)
greetings, rec


Hi, in my view those objects at Sotheby's differ from yours, both the painting style and color. They show clearly Yuan characteristics, and they have no people. Have you compared the faces, etc.? There should exist only a few jars with people decorations, as far as I know. Also pay attention to the brush strokes, which should show some typical Yuan characteristics.
Your overall view of the charger is still insufficient in size to see detailed features, like the brush strokes, close up. Try getting it to about 100kb (600-800 dpi) so that details are easily visible. If necessary, you could make two halves instead of one picture. Again, this might help decide if some details are incongruent for the period or not.

Most large chargers of Yuan white/blue porcelain wares are in the Topkapi museum in Turkey, not in China. That is because the ruling Mongols preferred metal wares to porcelain; the porcelain was exported to the Middle East instead.
In my book of Topkapi plates the bottom looks different. The bottom is always the most important thing looked at. Today's copies are of very high quality (some of them) with only the bottom differing, plus the pigment.
Decorations are easily copied, but Yuan dynasty items of this size often used imported pigments, at least partially. That is the so-called Sumali pigment imported from the Middle East during the Yuan dynasty. That pigment had defects, however. If used pure it provided a bright blue color, but resulted in dispersed edges. If mixed with locally (in China) mined pigment, that did not happen, but the color was different.
The other two defects are: a too high iron content and insuffiently refined blue cobalt pigment. These resulted in gray/blackish spots on the blue decoration, which in turn sunk into the glaze over time, resulting in indents. Pigment accumulations lead to ungainly areas in the decoration due to the unrefined cobalt. If nothing of these is present, a large item is oftensuspicious. They make these spots by painting them on, but that would leave the glaze smooth.

To me this blue color is not the classic Yuan blue color, but please compare to other big items in the museums of Turkey and Iran, by all means.
My view is if there is no clear source from a major collection, it is too easy to get a fake. You should expect probably a price in the tens of thousands at least, if genuine.

Please be aware that there are lots of fake Yuan B/W wares being sold in the open market.


If you can upload a good picture of the rim decoration, with sufficient resolution, I can check it against those in a handbook for museum researchers, published by the cultural department of China. There are some period specific variations, but limited to the Yuan and early Ming dynasty. Everything else might be a later copy.

The third among the item (the ewer) links your provided is the only one in which the glaze and pigment situation explained is clearly visible. Use the magnifier provided on the page and you will see the indents and irregular positions of the dark spots. You also can see that the larger areas are not very smooth blue, the individual brush strokes are visible even in the filling. That is the glaze/pigment condition that should be present in a large charger like yours, in my view.


hi Peter,
I search the internet  (including collection of Britisch museum and Topkapi) but couldnt  find an other Yuan example with human decoration with same facial expression. i found only floral decorated items and a few picies with animals at the centre.

Topkapi collection shows 2 pieces with comparible chrager with the same adge decoration (waves) and  same unglazed bottom without -what you called- the scratches

unfortunatly I found acharger on ebay (description: antique-Yuan-to-Ming-Dynasty-Chinese-Warrior-Horse-Blue-and-White-Charger -
eBay item number:193397633141) with the same facial expression.
Seller is from the US. 

so,I must be bought a fake one. I knew that the chance that this was a real one was incredibly small. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I decided to buy it


On Ebay you can buy genuine small Yuan B/W jarlets etc., mostly from SE Asia, Indonesia, because that is were lots of them were exported to. We do not really know how many big items still exist. About a decade ago China estimated some 300+ were in museums, but in recent years there is talk that these numbers were much too small (due to too strict researcher evaluations). Some of the big items appear in major auctions, however I believe it is unlikely that any such large items appear on the open market, at this time. Any such large charger would probably cost at least a five digit figure, if genuine. In Jingdezhen there exists a vast faking industry, they will be doing these too. (The Chinese government does virtually nothing to stop this. They prohibit the export of genuine antiques but allow the production and export of numerous fakes.)
Anything like this charger existing in the west would have to come from one of the early western collections, probably, if authentic; that means it would have provenance.

Please be aware that opinion regarding Yuan B/W is divided even among researchers in China, and any authentication usually involves a hands-on and/or scientific authentication, because it is a difficult subject. Therefore, it is not recommended to buy large items from pictures or without inspection by a specialist in the open market.


The rim decoration is not among the wave decorations from the Yuan to the early Ming dynasties. There are about a dozen patterns but none looks like this. And, these closer pictures show a pigmen tonet that is not right for either Yuan pr early Ming, I'm afraid.