Faking iridescence on cizhou style vase

Started by teainmycup, Jan 15, 2024, 15:23:55

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Just decided to come here and share some iridescence. Perhaps an expert can enlighten me, and us as to how this was done. It's not obvious under normal lighting conditions.

This vase currently decorates my tea table. I picked it up from a house 30 minutes away as a curiosity a few years back. My son brought it up the other day. And I pulled it out of storage and actually admired it. Huh. Took a few photos and now wanted to share with others the colors and make an inquiry for knowledge "how they do that?"

Thank you for your time!


This does not look like iridescence normally does, in this picture. Looks white/bluish, but that on Chinese wares is rainbow-colored. Its origin is lead and Mn in a certain type of glaze, but not this type.
Did you use a blue light, and is the sheen also there if no light shines directly unto the surface, like with fluorescence?
Possibly that this is not Chinese at all. Some part of the decoration and the shape exact  are not typical, and in the period such decoration types were made there was no iridescence on any type of glaze in China, to my knowledge.  Is the glaze color dark brown?  Is it not uniformly brown at the top or does it only look that way because of the light.
While there is such a type of scratched/carved brown glaze in Chinese ceramics, there are others in the region which imitated these a long time ago, but all many hundred years before iridescence appeared on a glaze.
Perhaps you could show the bottom, interior and a proper side view that shows the exact shape/proportions?


Hi Peter!

The sheen is not seen under regular lighting conditions. I've attached a few older photos I have that show the vase under normal lighting conditions.

The light source I used to show the colors is 1000 lumen Maglite led which has its fair share of blue light.

I just figured this as a copy. It's handmade, and quite exacting, minus the scroll work and these colors that... I guess I misunderstood. I thought it was the copiers way of making it appear as if it were buried/excavated. Shrug. 

I took some newer photos the other night I'll share below.


More photos.


1st photo on my small tea table for better size comparison.

2nd photo using phone's flash to light up a section.

I have to sleep. Will catch up tomorrow! Thanks for taking a look!


This way it looks better. So its shape would be right but I still have some doubts.

The detail shown below is unusual in my view, because they didn't usually create a white area where two lines meet in the pieces I see.  And, the content of the decoration is not quite clear. What does it depict?  Usual are floral, animal or people decorations, not sure what this depicts.
Anyway, did you note that the upper part of the neck and and foot rim have a stronger gloss than the body? And, did early Cizhou glazes really cover the foot rim?
If this was Song dynasty Cizhou , it would have to be a Yuhu Chunping bottle, not a vase. I doubt they would have made much decorative items in the Song dynasty; they would have made mainly on items for daily use.
Now Cizhou kiln was active a very long time, and its decorations spread to a vast area. Korea, Western Xia and some SE Asian kilns all did do similar decorations, probably imitating those of Cizhou. Further, Cizhou kiln was one of the longest active kilns, it may still be producing. Most of the other Song dynasty kilns ceased operation in about the Yuan dynasty.

All said above is related to the old (Song) Cizhou wares. I cannot tell if this is more recent or not. It looks too neat for that, especially the bottom.
Again back to the iridescence, if something made before the Qing dynasty would show that, The glaze may accidentally contain some mineral elements resulting that. In the old times they could not know what trace elements the mined materials contained.


You may need someone do a hands-on inspection to consider other factors too, which it not possible from pictures alone.

The four items on the right side here:  https://globa.net/gallery/index.php?/categories/startcat-7
are all Cizhou items. Their unglazed areas all show pertaining age signs, the problem with yours is that it is fully glazed and it is impossible to tell for sure. The inside and glaze would need to be inspected close up with a magnifier or microscope, I'm afraid.