Gu vase - Kangxi

Started by hn2503, Nov 13, 2022, 04:21:40

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I came across this Gu vase and was told it is of Kangxi period.
It is mounted as a lamp, and hence I cannot completely see the foot rim. But I have taken photos of the base and all around.

I am greatful if someone can help to determine if it is a genuine Kangxi vase

Many thanks


More pictures.


More photos


more photos


Might well be, but I it might also be later, e.g. Kangxi revival period (=Guangxu).
The foot rim might have a coarse consistency if it is, but even without that it may still be Kangxi. There are a bit too many glaze faults (indents) on the bottom than should be expected with Kangxi wares. Kangxi wares should have a better glaze quality than items made before and after the 18th century. These glaze indents may or may not be related to the kiln, but they invoke doubts.
The only feature that looks typical Kangxi is the peony shape that has a contour that looks like the four wings of a butterfly.

I'm afraid it is difficult to tell for sure if it is of the period or a later (Qing dynasty) copy of a Kangxi style decoration.


Hi Peterp, thank you for your comments and observations.

I also have doubt about the quality of the glaze both on the bottom and the exterior, i.e. there are glaze contraction or spot all around as seen in the attached images.

The glaze is not very white or does not have blue tint as I would normally see in a blue and white Kangxi vase.

On the other hand, I have managed to find two examples of Gu-shaped Famille Verte vases at Christies. The first one is Kangxi period, and the second one is 19th century. Both have flowers, leaves, rocks, birds, butterfly etc drawn.

+ Kangxi Gu-Shaped Famille Vert:
+ 19th Cencurty Gu-shaped Famille Vert:

It is clear that the Kangxi one has the leaves drawn quite well, with different shades of blue/green on the same branch to indicate depth, and with distinction between old (black/grey) and new (green) branches. I can see the same features in the vase I came across.

The 19th century vase has the leaves drawn using the same patten of colour. And more importantly, the leaves/drawing look stiff. It does not have depth.

So indeed it is very hard to be certain of the period when one takes different factors into consideration.


I did not mention that before, but did you note that the red coloration of the flower petals is made in a fairly careless manner. I would only buy it if you agree to it not being Kangxi. It just does not seem to have the quality of that period. Pricing is also a factor. A similar item from the Kangxi reign would be much more expensive than one from the Kangxi revival period. But some painted decorations made In the Guangxu reign and imitating Kangxi can still be of good quality. But here, the painting strokes are not carefully executed, in my opinion.


Many thanks Peterp for pointing out the red coloration. I did not pay attention to this feature, but now you point this out, and it is very clear that there is an issue with the painting of the red color. Indeed I then looked around for other similar examples available in different museums' online catalogue, and how the red was painted there is much nicer.


Hi Peterp,

Regarding the Gu vase that was mounted as a lamp.

I finally managed to have the vase pictured again, and this time one can see the foot rim and the interior.

I do not know what to say about the interior except I can see quite clearly where different parts of the vase were looted together.

However, I am more curious about your comment "The foot rim might have a coarse consistency if it is". Does this vase foot rim have the coarse consistency as one would have expected?



Some more pictures


Doesn't look as if it has that consistency, in these pictures, as far as I can see.
Not all Kangxi wares do have that, though. This is one just one of many features used for evaluation.
By the way, the foot rim has a worm back, that is another point against it. Making a round foot rim took extra work and worm back rims would have been mostly made with imperial or top quality wares, in those times. There may be exceptions, but with this flower painting quality and the indents in the bottom... ?

I still would think that when in doubt assuming it to be Kangxi revival (Guangxu) is the safe choice in such cases. That means the price would have to be quite lower than Kangxi if one wantst to obtain it.


Hi Peter, I have a stupid question, is the indents or pits on the bottom the same thing?


Thanks Peterp for answering my question about the foot rim. Indeed the worm back (or the ring on the inside of the foot rim) is a rare feature. I have not seen a vase with this feature in the past, i.e. vases of Kangxi period, after and before. Not even pieces in the David Percival collection, but then I only see the foot rim of bowls and plates there, I could not see the foot rim of many vases.