Ming Meiping Vase (Have doubts)

Started by smak, Nov 22, 2022, 22:53:36

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Hi All,

What do you guys think? I am unsure, it does look like Ming but I am having some doubts.



Hi Smak, the decoration looks like Yuan and Ming but the bottom looks like it was made on a modern potters wheel, the lines on the bottom appear to me to be made from the lines from the wheel itself.


Hi Stan,

It looks like Ming for sure, I mean at least the decorations. it's the bottom that made it bit suspicious to me. Haha so its a bit confusing to me at least.


It is as Stan already said. The type of stylized lotus petal along the base would mean it has to be Yuan or early Ming. But yes, as you two said, the spiral on the bottom looks as if a metal pottery wheel was used. In those times they still would have used wheels made of wood (!).
Also, the unglazed bottom, what we call a sand bottom, would probably not show any lines from a pottery wheel in those periods. Despite being unglazed the surface would usually be smooth. (This may differ on some wares of the interregnum period where chatter marks can be found that, however, not should be there again until the late Ming dynasty.)
Additionally, I would like to point out that the blue pigment does not look quite right for that period, my personal view.


While we are on the subject of metal pottery wheel, I wonder whether a vase I came across sometime ago (and I already posted on this forum) is also the product of metal wheel?

The spiral on the bottom are not clear, but the lines on the outside of the foot rim look suspicious to me, i.e. they are quite sharp and uniform. Do you think the rim and bottom of the attached images are also product of metal wheel?


The lines on the bottom are too thin and irregular to be the impression of a metal pottery wheel. Whether a metal or wooden wheel was used is impossible to tell. This looks like a regular unglazed bottom.
But you are right, the lines on the outside look suspicious, but these cannot be from the wheel.

First, I know basically of three methods used in ancient China to make the bottom. One I know of was used in the Yuan dynasty with certain items having a relatively wide bottom. The bottom was made separately and then attached to the body of the item. With the other two the body and foot rim were made with the lower part of an item. The foot rim was made concurrently, but with the third method the foot rim was attached to the bottom after the later was made. I believe the latter two may have been used in the Ming or Qing dynasty, or both, possibly depending on the item type and rim shape.

The deep regular impressions on the bottom of the item posted by smal likely mean it stood on a metal wheel initially, and metal wheels were manufactured by machine, using a machine tool that results in such even lines. Anyone knowing such manufacturing methods will agree.


Now to the lines below the glaze. Yes, I would consider this suspicious. If I see that on an item I do not purchase it. However, these lines would be from the tool used to the shape the exterior. They are too regular in my taste, but I do not know from when it could be. Normally, we could expect that the shaping outside is done by hand, not using some hard tool.

The question is why want to use someone a hard tool to shape not yet fired clay on the side instead of using the fingers?
I can imagine only two reasons: one is the foot rim, or rather the whole bottom, was later attached and needed to be cut even with the body, for which a hard tool was used. That is not a conventional production method. The other would be that this body was made with modern methods, like a mold or steel tools. We all know what that would mean.

This enlargement of the side of the bottom/foot rim is really very revealing. It shows unusual production methods (unusual for the old times). It also shows a lower glaze line that may be unusual. Often after the glaze is applied and an item is heated in the kiln, the glaze will shrink during the firing process, whereas the glaze lines retract slightly. Here the bottom of the glaze line looks quite unnatural, more as if it was cut.
These things leave just doubts regarding the manufacturing of this item, even without looking at the rest of it. This is one of the reasons why the base is always very important for verification. But sometimes it is just difficult to tell for sure.
If this was an old bottom attached to a newer body, then they could have glazed it just down to the foot rim, covering it. I would avoid such items, even if overall look old. They might be modified.


Thanks Peterp for the messages. It did not occur to me at first that the foot rim might have been attached after the vase had gone through the kiln, but that would explain why the lines are sharp and uniform due to a hard tool. I will need to take a look at the vase next time I visit its owner, especially where the glaze ends. As you pointed out the glaze line looks clean.

It would be nice if there is a simple yet convincing reason for the uniform lines on the outside of the foot rim. It is interesting but, at the same time, leaves me some uneasiness about the vase. It has to be a hard tool, and hence should be quite recent, yet it does not come from a metal wheel ....