Antique Tortoise Shell

Antique Tortoise Shell

Read This Before Start Collecting Antique Tortoise Shell items

During the Victorian era, particularly in the mid-1800s, tortoise shell items took pride of place in most homes. Tortoise shell boxes and containers were prized for their decorative properties aside from their original function of containing various items. Combs, hair pins, and various items of jewelry were even made from tortoise shell material. It wasn’t until 1973, when the Endangered Species Act was passed, that the trading and use of tortoise shell material in manufacturing different items was prohibited. This turned the attention of the public to antique tortoise shell items.

Antique Tortoise Shell

What is Tortoise Shell?

First, let us gain a better understanding about the material known as tortoise shell. This material is derived from the shell of one of the endangered turtle species, the hawksbill sea turtles. It has decorative properties and it is also durable, which explains why it was also used in the manufacture of guitar picks, sunglasses, and even knitting needles. During the Victorian times, tortoise shell jewelry were embellished with precious stones and metals, and some were even hand carved, making them sought after by many collectors of antique tortoise shell jewelries.
Collecting Antique Tortoise Shell
If you decide to start collecting antique tortoise shell, you have to know more than the basics. One of the first things every collector should know (and this applies to any item you collect, not just antique tortoise shell). There is the matter of being able to differentiate real tortoise shell from fake or faux tortoise shell.

Take it upon yourself to learn the differences between the real thing and faux tortoise shell. It takes a practiced and discerning eye to easily tell the differences. Generally, real tortoise shell is lighter than fake ones, and if you compare the two, the former would have more depth and layers, which is part of the reason why they were favored for use in jewelry making.

Antique Tortoise Shell VasesThere are certain tests that you can also try, such as a pin test, which will involve your sense of smell. However, unless you already own the tortoise shell item, the seller might not be amenable to you using a hot pin or a piece of sandpaper to see whether it will smell like burned hair (real tortoise shell does not smell as much like burned hair as faux tortoise shell) since markings or spots may be left on the shell afterwards.

Antique tortoise shell is also more expensive than faux tortoise shell. This is another hurdle you have to overcome if you want to be a collector of any antique tortoise shell, especially if you don’t really discriminate as to what type of item you are going to focus on. Some prefer to collect antique tortoise shell cases and tea caddies, while others are more partial with combs and jewelry. There are even some men who are into collecting antique tortoise shell cigar boxes and snuff boxes.
antique tortoise shell ruyiLook for a proof of origin when buying antiques so you know that your purchase is legal and not breaking any laws. The reputation of the dealer or seller of antique tortoise shell is also telling when you’re trying to decide on the legitimacy of the item you are contemplating on buying. If the seller already has a history of selling genuine items, then you can have more assurance that you are not being ripped off. Of course, it goes without saying that the reputation of the seller would also have a bearing on the price tag of the antique tortoise shell.

Now where can you expect to find antique tortoise shell to add to your collection? Antique shops are very good sources. Scouring through antique shops will turn up some unique finds. If there are antique shows and fairs in your area, they are also worth checking out. You’ll also be surprised at the treasure most antique collectors turn up when they have the patience to go to flea markets.

Collecting antiques is fun, and collecting antique tortoise shell is even more exciting, considering how they are now very rare and hard to find. Part of the thrill of collecting these items is the hunt you’ll be involved in.

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Southern Ming Dynasty (1644-1662 A.D.)

Southern Ming Dynasty (1644-1662 A.D.)

Southern Ming DynastyIn 1644 A.D. Beijing the capitol fall to the hand of the rebel Shun dynasty, some remnants from the Ming imperial family and court ministers has fled the capitol before its fall and moved to Nanjing, after word of emperor Chongzhen death, they established their power in south of china, declaring Nanjing as their capitol.

In order to prevent crisis the southern Ming court has chosen the Prince of Fu (Zhu Yousong) as the protector of the state, as he was the successor in the line after emperor Chongzhen sons, which their fate was unknown.

Eventually after getting more support from the strongest allies he was declared as emperor Honguang, after a year of reigning the southern area of China, internal conflicts involving a former warlord who sent his forces to clear the corruption officials in the Honguang court, Ming troops who were supposed to be defending against the Qing dynasty forces was sent to deal with him.

The Qing dynasty forces which started their conquest of south China, has arrived to Yangzhou, the city of Yangzhou with half their troops scattered tried to resist the Qing empire, but the city has fell, and was massacred, including the defending commander Shi Kefa, it is said that in the massacre more than 800,000 people has died, the Qing forces has arrived to Nanjing, who has subdued to her with no resistance, Emperor Honguang fled Nanjing but was captured after and was sent to Beijing to the Qing dynasty court, he died a year later.

Early Qing dynasty Porcelain VaseAfter the fall of Nanjing, Prince of Tang has fled to Fuzhou, brought under the protection of a sea trader name Zheng Zhilong, the prince of Tang was crowned as emperor Longwu in 1645 A.D. and lasted a year, after he was captured by the Qing dynasty and executed.

The southern Ming dynasty power has been divided and few emperors were raised in different regions,

After the death of emperor Longwu, his brother succeeded him as emperor Shaowu, he fled to Guangzhou when Fuzhou was captured at 1646 and was declared as emperor only few days before prince of Gui declared himself as Yongli emperor, both emperors claim to be the legitimate heirs to the Ming dynasty, what has created war between the two new emperors, after 40 days, Guangzhou fell to the hand of the Qing dynasty, and emperor Shaowu committed suicide.

In 1658 A.D. Emperor Yongli (the 7th son of emperor Wanli) who was pressed back by the Qing army over the years moving to the south west of china, and ending in the Yunnan province, he was helped by region warlords and supporters, in 1661 he was granted refuge in Burma by King Pindale of the Taungoo dynasty of Burma, and was permitted to live in the city of Sagaing.

After moving to Sagaing, King Pindale started to see emperor Yongli wanted to make Burma as his kingdom, and war broke between the two sides, the Chinese who have lost and was murdered in the order of Pye Min, King Pindale brother, all except to Zou Youlang (emperor Yongli) and his family.

The End Of The Southern Ming Dynasty

In 1662 an army from the Qing dynasty led by Wu Sangui has entered Burma and demanded Youlang to be submitted to them, the Burmese who didn’t seek for another battle, delivered the emperor, his sons and grandsons to Wu Sangui who was a Chinese general that played a major rule in the fall of the Ming dynasty, he is blamed for opening the gates of the great wall to the Manchurian forces, and after the fall of Beijing leading troops against the southern Ming.

Emperor Yongli was the last known claimant to the Ming dynasty throne, was strangled by Wu Sangui in 1662 A.D.

That was the true end to the  Ming dynasty including their last resistance as the Southern Ming dynasty, the empire of China was now controlled by the Qing dynasty.

We have some rare antiques from the southern Ming dynasty period offered for sale in our shop.

Click here to see our Southern Ming dynasty porcelain and other items.

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Late Ming Dynasty (1590-1644 A.D.)

Late Ming Dynasty (1590-1644 A.D.)

Late Ming DynastyThe Late Ming dynasty period begins in the middle rule of Wanli emperor,

Three major wars that have happened through 1590-1600 A.D. are:

First, one leader of the outer regions in china has rebelled the Ming dynasty and allied with the Mongols to attack the Ming empire, emperor Wanli sent a force led by Li Chengliang who defeat the rebel forces and the Mongols and this campaign was over with overall success to the Ming.

Second, Japan has launched an invasion campaign against Korea, which involved 200,000 Japanese soldiers, emperor Wanli send forces to help the Koreans, he gave Koreans who came to china a shelter and defended them, and ordered his troops to be ready for battle against the Japanese army, in the first two battles his forces were crashed by the Japanese army, as they had an overwhelming force, in the third battle he has assembled 80,000 soldiers, this battle was over with negotiations in the favor of the great Ming empire, after two years another campaign from Japan to invade Korea was launched but after the great daimyo “Toyotomi Hideyoshi” has died, Japan lost its will to fight, and their army was crushed by allied Ming and Korean forces.

Third, another rebellion was raised inside the Ming borders, but was crashed by Wanli forces and the rebel leaders were captured.

In 1600 A.D. emperor Wanli has left the state affairs and stopped seeing his advisors and participate in morning meetings, he became occupied with building his own tomb and building his own personal wealth, taking funds from the empire and its people, his self centered late rule was the beginning of the fall to the Ming empire.

In 1616 a rebellion in Jurchen area, which was mostly occupied by the Manchu tribes, was led by Nurhaci who united all the tribes and conquered Manchuria from the hands of the Ming Empire, establishing the Later Jin dynasty.

In 1619 A.D. the Ming Empire sent an enormous force of 200,000 soldiers to fight the Later Jin dynasty smaller force of 60,000 strong, this epic battle is known as “Nun Er Chu Grand Battle” which resulted after 5 days of fighting with more than 100,000 casualties for the Ming forces and almost all of their food supply stolen.

Late Ming Dynasty VaseEmperor Wanli died a year later at 1620 A.D. buried in the special tomb he built for himself in Dingling, located outside of Beijing.

Wanli death, was the beginning of the end for the late Ming dynasty and from here things were about to go worse…

Emperor Wanli son ascended the throne at 1620 A.D. as emperor Taichang but has died less than a month after, leaving his eldest son to rule china as emperor Tianqi.

Emperor Tianqi ruled china from 1620-1627 A.D. he was 15 when becoming emperor, and like his grandfather late life, he showed no interest in state affairs and left all the governing to the eunuchs and ministers, having no living heirs, he died at 1627 A.D. and his younger brother was chosen to inherit him as Emperor Chongzhen.

In the beginning of his rule, he eliminated the eunuch Wei Zhongxian and Madame Ke who took control over the empire during emperor Tianqi reign.

With his treasury empty and corruption in the government he tried to rule by himself, what proved as a difficult task, emperor Chongzhen was very suspicious in the few talented people he left to rule china, and even executed his trusted general who basically held by himself the late Jin dynasty forces in the northeastern border.

The End of The Late Ming Dynasty

Uprising rebellions and the forces of the Manchurian led by Huang Taiji in the north eventually led to the collapse of the Ming dynasty empire,

The rebel forces led by Li Zicheng who established his own Shun dynasty, was ready to attack Beijing in 1644 A.D. , emperor Chongzhen sent his three sons to hide outside of the capitol and forced his empress Zhuang and her sister in law along with grand consort Li to commit suicide, while he tried to kill grand consort Yuan and the two young princess with his sword, Princess Changping and the consort both survived, but the young 6 years old princess Zhaoren died, both survivors has stayed in the Qing dynasty court.

Emperor Chongzhen has commit suicide in 1644 A.D hanging himself from a tree in Jingshan, the Shun dynasty forces took over Beijing but kept it less then a year when it was conquered by the Manchurian forces who proclaimed the Mandate of heaven and founded the Qing dynasty.

Those events resemble the collapse of the great Ming dynasty empire, and end the Late Ming dynasty.

although loyal forces kept the resistance against the growing Qing Empire.

read more about the Southern Ming dynasty (1644-1662 A.D.)

We have some rare antiques from the late Ming dynasty period offered for sale in our shop.

Click here to see our late Ming dynasty porcelain items.

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Later – Middle Ming dynasty (1505-1590 A.D.)

Later-Middle Ming Dynasty (1505-1590 A.D.)

Antique Chinese Porcelain  Ming dynasty vaseThe later-middle Ming dynasty period starts at 1505 A.D. after the death of emperor Hongxi and the beginning of emperor Zhengde reign.

Emperor Zhengde, was the eldest son of Hongxi, but unlike his father he has disregarded all of the empire affairs, his empress and was reckless and irresponsible emperor, who was more interested in women and exotic animals, it is said he built an harem for pets, which he brought from other countries such as tigers, leopards, bears and others, and later he has housed many beautiful women, since his women harem was overfilled with women, lack of supplies has caused one time to the death of some women from hunger.

Rising of corrupt eunuchs during Zhengde period was common and continued on later period of the Ming dynasty, since Zhengde has rejected his duty as emperor the power of ruling the empire was in the hands of eunuchs and ministers.

Emperor Zhengde was fascinated by foreigners, and established relations with many Muslims and Persians, in 1518 A.D. he has launched a successful campaign against the Mongol raiders who attacked north of china, he declared himself as general Zhu and personally led an army of thousands, surrounded the Mongols raiders and defeat them, after this battle, raiding from Mongolia has stopped for a while, Emperor Zhengde died at 1521 A.D. from illness, he has died with no heirs to inherit the throne, so the new emperor Jiajing was his cousin.

Emperor Jiajing succeeded the throne at 1521 A.D. when he was only 14 years old.

He was known to be as a cruel and he has rejected all state affairs, residing outside of the forbidden palace and refusing to give audience to his officials.

He gave the empire affairs to be controlled by some individuals who eventually abused their power and corrupted the court, until they gain so much power over the empire that they have controlled all of the government.

Chinese Antique Plate Ming Dynasty Jiajing MarkIn 1542 A.D. an assassination of emperor jiajing was planned by few of his concubines who were tired of his cruelty, they have tried to strangle him by hair ribbons while he was held by other palace girls, they made a grievous mistake by tying a knot on his neck which would not tighten, the plot was discovered after one of the girls ran to the empress, this incident has caused all the women involved and other concubines including their families to be put to the slow slicing death.

Also in 1542 A.D. the Mongols from the north started to arras the Chinese in the north border and launched raids, until in 1550 A.D. the Chinese curt has subdued and gave them special trading rights in order to appease them.

Jiajing reign period was quite peaceful for china, and he ruled china for 46 years, until he died at 1567 A.D. apparently he drank overdose of mercury which he thought to be the elixir of life, his style of ruling, by rejecting state affairs and leaving the empire at the end of government officials and eunuchs is what brought the beginning of the end to the Ming dynasty, and was followed by his grandson and other emperors.

Jiajing successor was his son Emperor Longqing who ascended to the throne at the year 1567 A.D. after realizing all the chaos his father reign has caused to the empire he started to put things right, but as well as his father he gave to much power at the hands of the eunuchs and after a while, has proffered to chase after personal pleasures then be involved in state affairs, although he has reopened the trade with Europe and Africa, and even made a peace treaty with the Mongols agreeing to trade silks for horses with them.

Longqing reign lasted only for 5 years, and he has died at 1572 A.D. when he was only 35 years old, leaving his 9 year old son Emperor Wanli to inherit the throne, he appointed his minister Zhang Juzheng to be in charge on state affairs and be the dedicated advisor of his son Emperor Wanli.

Emperor Wanli was the longest ruling emperor in the Ming dynasty, and ruled china between the years 1572-1620 A.D.

In his early reign, he was still a child and the empire was truly controlled by his advisor Zhang Juzheng who showed great skill in ruling the empire, during those 10 years being emperor Wanli mentor and minister, china has prospered both military and economically in a way that was remembered only during Yongle emperor reign.

Ming Dynasty Antique Porcelain Charger Plate

In 1582 A.D. Zhang Juzheng has died, Wanli has decided to take full control over the government, he showed skill in ruling the empire and the economy continued to prosper.

By most of history books The Later-Middle Ming dynasty period ends at 1590 A.D. in the middle of emperor Wanli reign, however this dividing is unclear, there are some assumption, that the dynasty period is divided like the life of a human, First 20% is considered as Early period, second period is 60% considered as Middle period and last 20% is considered as Late period, however that is only a suggestion.

We have some rare antiques from the middle Ming dynasty period offered for sale in our shop.

Click here to see our early Ming dynasty porcelain items.

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Middle Ming Dynasty


Early – Middle Ming Dynasty Period (1425-1505 A.D.)

The middle Ming dynasty begins at 1424 A.D. When Emperor Hongxi succeeded his father throne (Emperor Yongle), his reign was short and he died a year later after he ordering the moving of the capitol from Beijing back to Nanjing.

His own older son succeeded the throne at 1425 A.D. As Emperor Xuande which reversed his father decision and moved the capitol back to Beijing.

Middle Ming dynasty Plate Xuande PeriodIn his early reign, Emperor Xuande has assembled a 20,000 soldiers to fight his uncle, Zhu Gaoxu, who rebelled against him. The battle was over and Zhu Gaoxu has surrendered and died from fire torture along with his sons, it is said Emperor Xuande didn’t want to execute him, but his uncle arrogance has forced him to.

In 1427 A.D. Emperor Xuande has ordered his forces to withdraw from Vietnam, after a battle with severe casualties, along with raids from the western Mongol tribes in the north, which he successfully blocked, he maintained good relations with Korea, which sent tribute of virgin girls to his Harem, and improved relations with Japan.

In 1434, Toghon’s Oirat tribes in Mongolia has succeeded in their war with the eastern tribes and took over east Mongolia, then the Ming court tried to establish friendly relations with them.

Emperor Xuande has died at the year 1435 A.D. and his eight years old son ascended the throne as Emperor Zhengtong.

Because of his young age, he was easily influenced, especially by the eunuch “Wang Zhen”, and was looking for guidance and advice, the Empire in his early reign was prosperous and peaceful.

When he turned 22 years old, in 1449 A.D. he took the advice of Wang Zhen and led an army against the Mongols by himself, the battle was a disaster, and considered as the worst battle in the Ming dynasty history, which in result Emperor Zhengtong was captured by the Mongols and was kept as an hostage.

This was a point when the Ming dynasty almost collapsed, but the emperor brother  was installed to the throne as Emperor Jingtai, who haven’t paid the ransom for his brother, after four years in captivity the Mongol has released Emperor Zhengtong back to china, where he was granted a title of “Grand emperor” and was forced into house arrest by his new emperor brother.

Emperor Jingtai has invested his attention in inside matters, and as a result of his rule, the Ming economy has prospered and the empire was strengthen.

Emperor Jingtai has replaced Zhengtong son (Chenghua) as the crown prince and installed his own son, Zhengtong, which was in the forbidden palace at his house arrest was furious, after a short while, in 1457 A.D. emperor Jingtai heir has died in mysterious circumstances, and the Emperor was devastated, that was the time when Emperor Zhengtong has made a plot to overthrow his young brother from the throne, and he installed as emperor again, he took the name of Emperor Tianshun, he put his brother Jingtai In house arrest and demoted his rank, and after a month he has died, some sources say he was murdered by Emperor Tianshun command to the eunuchs, Emperor Tianshun as ruled the empire until he died in 1464 A.D.

Middle Ming Dynasty Porcelain VaseHis own son took the throne as Emperor Chenghua, who ruled china from 1464-1487 A.D.

During Chenghua reign in the middle ming dynasty, new government policies were made in order to strengthen the dynasty and reduce the taxes on the common people, however it did not last when the governmental affairs came back to the hands of the eunuchs.

Some peasant revolts were threatening to rise, but they were dealt with a fierce hand and were suppressed very violently, Chenghua start to establish spying institutions that were dealing in punishment and torture to whoever they suspected in treason.

Chenghua had an imperial concubine name “Lady Wan”, when she got pregnant from him, she became his favorite consort, but the child died soon after, little did Chenghua knew, that Lady Wan and the eunuchs has conspired against him, preventing him to bear any children, and even going as far as poisoning mother and child if a birth had accured.

In 1475 A.D. Emperor Chenghua discovered he has a living son who survived and was raised in secrecy, when Chenghua died in 1487 A.D. after ruling China for 23 Years, his son was installed as Emperor Hongzhi.

Emperor Hongzhi is considered as very wise and peaceful Emperor, he was monogamist and had only one empress and no concubines.

He Ruled China between 1487-1505 A.D. and was involved personally in all states affairs, ruling wisely and strengthening the Ming empire economically and the populace has prospered, he is considered as one of the greatest emperors during the Ming dynasty along with his ancestors Emperor Hongwu and Emperor Yongle.

The middle ming dynasty is divided by some into two periods, the early – middle ming dynasty (1425-1505 A.D.) and the late – middle Ming dynasty (1505-1590 A.D.).

We have some rare antiques from the middle Ming dynasty period offered for sale in our shop.

Click here to see our early Ming dynasty porcelain items.

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Early Ming Dynasty

Early Ming Dynasty (1368-1424 A.D)

The early Ming dynasty was the beginning of a revolution to change China and free it from the mongol suppressor.

The Ming dynasty was founded at 1368 A.D. by Zhu Yuanzhang who was the leader of a peasant rebellion against the Yuan dynasty.

Zhu Yuanzhang was a peasant who joined the forces of the rebels against the Mongols, he has advanced in the ranks and when the warlord “Guo ziyi” died, Zhu has took over the rebel army, establishing a military base in the conquered city Jiqing at 1356 A.D.

Early Ming DynastyThrough the years of the rebellion Zhu Yuanzhang army force has been increased as well military and economically, while the Mongol forces of the Yuan dynasty was decreasing, in 1368 he has conquered Dadu (today Beijing), which was the capital of the Yuan dynasty, and proclaimed the Mandate of Heaven, declaring himself as Emperor Hongwu, and founding the Ming dynasty.

After seizing power from the Mongols and conquering all of china, Emperor Hongwu has established new rules to ease the burden of the peasants, his new society rules was build upon punishment and prevention of corruption especially by the court officials, he has given lands to young farmers who arrived to adultery and order to reconstruct canals, buildings and plant trees.

Being a rebel leader, he knew that the threat from the Mongols is not yet finished, so he has invested in the military as well, using a system that has been used during the Sui and Tang dynasties, he kept a powerful army that consisted more than 1,000,000 soldiers, divided to “guard battalions”, each military unit consisted 5600 soldiers divided to five battalions and ten companies.

In times of war the troops has been sent all around china by the war ministry orders, only than commanders were appointed and once the war was finished the army was divided again into small groups which were sent to their districts, while the commander returned his authority to the empire, what has prevented from those individual warlords to hold too much power.

During the early Ming dynasty, Emperor Hongwu was infamous for massacres of many people, he was very paranoid of a rebellion to rise up against him, and so wherever he saw doubt he used to order the killing of the so called threat, it is said he used many torture methods such as flaying and slow slicing of humans, he expected everyone to obey and respect his rule, and even his advisors who criticize him, sometimes found their death.

Emperor Hongwu tried to keep all the power over the empire in his hands, and dismissed and execute many eunuchs from the court, preventing others from administrations roles, he has succeed to establish a lot of power in his hands, and took control almost over all state affairs.

During his late years he became very paranoid and order to execute so many people that were close to him, including their families, he has distribute his own written warnings to the Chinese people demanding them to behave or they will feel the horrible consequences if not.

Emperor Hongwu has died at 1398 A.D. leaving his grandson as a successor to the throne, Emperor Jianwen.

Early Ming Dynasty VaseEmperor Jianwen reigned for short period over china from the years 1398-1402 A.D. in the beginning of his reign he has suppressed many feudal lords including his uncle Zhu di, who arrived to Nanjing to offer respect to his father emperor Hongwu and was prevented of that by emperor Jianwen, he left Nanjing and raised an army leading a rebellion with a self defense slogan which earned him popular support from the commoners and generals as one, he was a great experienced military commander, and used many tactics defeating Jianwen armies.

In 1402 Zhu di has decided on a bold action and start marching to Nanjing (capitol city), he has conquered Nanjing at the same year and declared himself as emperor, the fate of Jianwen is unknown and full with rumors.

Zhu di was the fourth son of Emperor Hongwu, he has declared himself as Emperor Yongle at 1402 moving the capitol from Nanjing to Beijing constructing the Forbidden palace, and repairing the Grand canal of china.

Emperor Yongle has secured the northern border of china against the Mongols, using the help of general Xu Da who was his father in law.

During earlyMing dynasty while emperor Yongle  was on the throne, he used his power to heal china from the late rebellion, suppressing jianwen supporters and stabilize himself as the legitimate emperor.

Emperor Yongle was perhaps the only emperor who ever ordered the “Extermination of the ten agnate”, so horrible punishment, inflicted on jianwen supporter “Fang Xiaoru”  for insulting the emperor and refusing to write inaugural address, he was threatened with the Extermination of nine agnate, meaning killing him and his family up to nine agnates.

“Fang Xiaoru” told the emperor, why only nine? Make it ten, and his wish was granted including his students and peers as the 10th circle, it is said that 873 people were executed as a punishment.

Emperor Yongle is also known for sponsoring the eunuch “Zheng He” expeditions overseas, establishing good relations with Tibet and his economic, military and educational reforms had a great benefits for the people.

he is remembered very much for his cruelty like his father, it is also said that in 1420 A.D. after his favorite concubine was poisoned, he has ordered 2800 ladies for the slow slicing death, while he sat and watch.

Even Though all of this, Emperor Yongle has been successful with holding back the Mongol threat, he is remembered for preserving the Chinese culture, building incredible monuments such as the porcelain tower in Nanjing, and working hard to preserve his father work.

He Died at 1424 A.D. leaving his son Emperor Hongxi to rule china.

The Ming dynasty period is divided into Three or four periods in most scholars and history books, the reason for the division into those period of years is not quite known, there are some estimations, but as far as most history books refer, this period above, from 1368-1424 is considered as Early Ming dynasty.

We have some rare antiques from the early Ming dynasty period offered for sale in our shop.

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Ming Dynasty Porcelain

Ming dynasty Porcelain vaseThe Ming dynasty was founded at 1368 AD and was replaced by the Qing dynasty in 1644 AD.
As far as it concerns Chinese Antiques, it was a golden age for porcelain. There are many antiques that was exported and traded with European countries and those antiques are extremely wanted by private collectors those days.

Those pieces are known as Ming dynasty porcelain.
During the Ming dynasty, the blue and white porcelain trade has flourished and the technique of making porcelain was improved.
The main mass production kiln “Jingdezhen” has started to produce the blue and white porcelain, it was possible due to a trade of cobalt blue from the Persians.
You can see many different styles and shapes, Ming dynasty porcelain vases, plates, incense burners, Jars, tankards, ewers and many more…
To understand the Ming dynasty Porcelain we need to go back to before the Han people has reclaimed their country back from the Mongols.
Although the blue and white porcelain has started during the Tang dynasty and was continued in the Song dynasty (Song dynasty is more famous for the Celadon glazed porcelain) but has started to been used regularly during the Yuan dynasty.
The early Ming dynasty porcelain vases were inspired directly from the Mongol style, using some repeated motifs in the painting, until it has evolved few years after and the Chinese Han people were starting to add their own examples for the paintings and designs.

Ming dynasty porcelain signs

During The early Ming dynasty Vases and plates were still unglazed.
Only during middle Ming period the porcelain has evolved and we could start seeing glazed bottoms and emperor marks.
Another thing that is very common among Ming dynasty porcelain antiques is Kiln firing faults.
Since the technology wasn’t develop as today, and in order to heat up the clay they were using wood based kilns, so the temperature wasn’t really in control and the position of the items had a factor as well.
This have led to many imperfections caused by broken plates, bowls or other porcelain pieces that were heated too much and explode inside the kiln, hitting other items that are still in the process. Sometimes you can find other broken porcelain pieces that are stuck with other items.

Kiln firing fault is very common and can help identify Ming dynasty porcelain pieces.
Some porcelain items were far away from the fire and the color was pale when it came out, and some items were too close to the fire and their shape or color has slightly changed.
Another common thing you can find usually on Ming dynasty vases are glaze contractions which was caused by from flecks or some oily materials and prevented from the glaze to cover the porcelain at some points.
This is important to remember, since 70% of the Ming dynasty porcelain had kiln firing faults, and only perfect pieces were being used by the imperial court.

Ming dynasty porcelain
So If you want to purchase a Ming dynasty vase, plate or other porcelain. Examine the piece carefully and look for any of those signs, it can help determine whether the items is a real antique or not.
Another thing you can do to study the subject better is to read books and look at museum pieces and private collections if you have the chance, find magazines of the big auction houses and study the shapes and designs that are presented there.
Each period during the Ming dynasty was inspired differently and the changes in the country and the development of technologies can help you learn more about Ming dynasty porcelain.
We offer some Chinese antiques for sale, including Ming dynasty vases, plates and other porcelain items.

To examine our collection click here.

Chinese Antiques For Sale

Chinese antiques for saleDue to high demand for Chinese antiques for sale, the prices keep going up.

During the past few years, some remarkable auctions have exceeded the price for Chinese porcelain, and some rare antiques have been bought for millions of dollars in Christies, Sotheby’s and some other big auction houses.

Most of the high bidding buyers are actually Chinese that wants to bring the history back to China, however there are many other collectors around the world that are constantly looking for Chinese antiques for sale.

Some are going to real auction houses and participate in the bidding activity. However due to the internet development today many people are selling and buying antiques online.

Whether you are a collector, investor or you just love the beauty of Chinese antiques and want to purchase some pieces for decorating your living room.

When looking online for Chinese antiques for sale, it is always better to be careful and cautious. There are many fake antiques sold as genuine.

Rust SpotsOne of the main places those fakes are coming from are China itself, it is important to understand the law in China in order to avoid buying mass produce items.

China has forbidden the trade of Chinese antiques outside of the country, and this law is punishable by death… This means if you are buying antiques from a Chinese supplier, you better be extra careful, as most of people will not risk their life just to have some Chinese antiques for sale on the internet.

So if you are encountering Chinese antiques for sale from China itself, it is better to avoid it as the chances those are real antiques is extremely low.

Currently on China, some of the ancient kilns are still working, only this time they are mass producing Chinese porcelain using molds and distributing them around the world.

Many antique shops we have encountered are selling those fraudulent items and claiming they have real Chinese antiques for sale. While the truth is, their items are 2-20 years old, and were made to deceive people.

The forgers are trying to make fake age signs as well, so you might look at a piece that has an old appearance, but actually was made not a while ago.

How To Avoid buying Fake Chinese Antiques?

It takes time to master the art of distinguishing between the real and the fake. However there are few things you can take into consideration before you rush to buy some Chinese antiques for sale you have encountered.

here some of the basics principles that can help you avoid buying fakes, although there is much more to it, while taking into consideration the ideas written below, you will be able to distinguish between Chinese antiques for sell  and just modern made Chinese pieces.

–         Avoid buying from sellers that are located in China

–         Look at catalogues of the big auction houses, and start getting familiar with the shapes, patterns and items quality.

–         When you encounter a piece you like on the internet, make a research and see if anyone else is offering the exact same piece, and compare between the prices, the shapes and the quality of work.

–         Contact the seller and ask question about the piece to see his replay

–         Check if the seller that offers the Chinese antiques for sale is reputable.

–         Study the age signs, and whenever looking on Chinese antiques for sale, look for those age signs.

–         Check if the items have been used (Most real antiques were used during the long period they are exist)

Those are only some Tips you can use when looking for Chinese antiques for sale, take them all into consideration, and don’t forget to always be skeptical and ask questions, eventually it will lead you to the truth about the items that are offered for sale.

Rare Amber For Sale – Burmite Amber

As far as gemstones go, the most popular ones include diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Amber is also popular, but did you know that, technically, amber is not a stone? Amber is actually what is classified as an organic gemstone. The amber gem that we all know and love today is actually a hard and translucent fossilized tree resin. Because it is hard and because it has a naturally unique and beautiful color, it is used widely for decorative purposes.

If you try to check out the types of amber for sale presently, they come mostly in the form of jewelry or as an encasement for stones, bugs, insects or other fossils. The versatility of this organic gemstone erases all doubts as to why it is sought after. Let us look at the many forms of amber for sale.

Of course, who would not want to have an amber gem as jewelry? A necklace with rare amber for a pendant is definitely a stunning piece that could transform the look of every woman who wears it, especially when matched with a pair of amber earrings. For many, its aesthetic properties, thanks to its eye-catching color, would be more than enough reason to get one.

Amber comes in a wide range of colors. The most common amber gem would be something like a mix of yellow, orange and brown. However, they can also be close to white or pale yellow. In some cases, they can be dark brown that they seem to be black. Rare amber gems come in the most peculiar of colors. Cherry amber is a vivid red, and there is also the green amber. The most sought after would have to be the blue amber. This rare amber is said to be found only in the mountains of the Dominican Republic.

But amber is also known for its healing properties. The amber gem is said to have the ability to clear the mind and body of stress. Health problems are also known to be cured by amber. Examples include goiter, headache, teeth and eye disorders, throat and lung glandular swellings, and rheumatism. Stomach and digestive problems can also be remedied because rare amber has the ability to balance both the endocrine and digestive system.

Amber that is found in central America, both in Mexico and Dominican Republic is estimated to be dated 24-40 million years old , those ambers are extracted from the  rainforests  and are resin from extinct trees species, usually they have a transparent look and higher number of fossil inclusions than the Baltic amber which is considered as the most common amber. with about 80% of all amber in the world known to be found there.

Amber that is sourced in Burma is known as Burmite. It is often characterized by a deep red color, although it could also come in pale yellow, gold, and brown, unlike the usual amber that we know of. However, the Burmese amber is dated to at least 100 million years, back to the dinosaur age. It is actually currently being mined, particularly from the amber mines in the Hukwang Valley, in the northern province of Kachin. Compared to other types of ambers, burmite is much harder and darker than Dominican amber.

Of course, you should expect to pay more if you want rare amber to be gracing your body anytime soon. Many jewelry stores and other novelty shops have amber for sale in their inventory. Another option would be through online shops. You only have to make sure you do not make the mistake of falling for the phony sellers and end up paying a high price for fake amber.

If the Inclusions and fossils inside are too good to be true, than its probably is…

Today In China there are many fake ambers, that are literally made out of plastic.

We Offer a large variety of Burmite amber, and rare amber specimens, if you are looking for a reliable place to purchase Burmese amber, then you have came to the right place.

Click here to see Our Amber Collection

Unique Microscopic Chinese calligraphy ivory sculpture by Huang Lao-Fen



A very rare, unique, ivory sculpture of an ancient Chinese woman holding a reed pipe (flute) with microscopic Chinese calligraphy carving.  The exquisite Chinese calligraphy micro-carvings itself is precious Chinese art contained within the ivory sculpture art piece.  Hence, there are two art pieces here in one ivory sculpture. The seller father was told by the artist Huang Lao-Fen, he took around one & half years to complete this sculpture


Who are the collectors of this very rare micro carving of Chinese Calligraphy art on ivory sculptures

The late Huang Lao-Fen, made only very limited pieces of his micro carvings of Chinese calligraphy art on ivory sculptures in his life time. Different from works of contemporary art, micro carvings take much time to complete. Most of his limited works of micro carvings are collected by the National Palace Museum of Taiwan, amongst the best Chinese art museum.

Balance of remaining known pieces are owned by Queen Elizabeth II, present King of Thailand, the late President Nixon, the late President Chiang Kai Shek and the National Museum of Malaysia.

in the left side picture you can see comparison of the area of micro carving against the size of a pen nip.


Information on rare ivory sculpture (ICC#1-126586038)‏


Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 8:01:57 PM

To:  *************
Dear Mr Deng,

Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful ivory carving of a lady holding a sheng (reed pipe).

The artist Mr Wong Lo-Feng (Huang Lao-fen) you mentioned in the email was a famous Guangdong carver, unfortunately we do not have his artwork in our collection. His works have been collected by the National Museum of History in Taiwan and form a major part of their microscopic carving collection. You may browse their web site for more information on the artist.

Best regards,

Assistant Curator II (Chinese Antiquities)
Hong Kong Museum of Art



From: 器物處

To: **************
CC: service01 <>
Date: Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 8:40 PM

Subject: Rare Microscopic Ivory Carvings of Haong Lao Fen



Dear Mr. Deng,


Thank you for your e-mail of May 25, 2009, and we are pleased to learn of your possessing a interesting ivory carving, an Chinese lady, made by Mr. Huang Lao-fen(黃老奮,Wong-L0-Feng).  We are enclosing an article which is recommending him.  The article was published in the National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art Vol. 6 No. 2(1988.05), pp.82-93.  We wish it is helpful for you.


With the very best of wishes in your pursuit, we remain


Sincerely yours,


Antiquities Department

National Palace Museum

The Write About The  Artist,
The Late Huang Lao-Fen In His Book

This book was autographed by the artist Huang Lao-Fen to the seller (Mr. Deng) father when Huang Lao-Fen gave this only piece from his private collection to his father.

For more information or expression of interest,

please press here to contact us

or send email to:

Real Rare Antiques will act as mediator in this transaction.