In this post i would like to show you the differences between my Yuan dynasty porcelain vase and the new made porcelain that you see today in the market, copy based on this style.
First thing you can see is the big difference between the shapes of the two pieces, on the left side,a real Yuan dynasty vase, while on the right side with the cover, a new made porcelain from Jingdezhen which its shape is much more ellipse then the real antique porcelain.
since in the old times, the kilns were wood based, and not gas based as today, what have made the makers to be without any control on the fire level and temperature, especially during the Yuan and Ming dynasties, many of the porcelain had kiln firing faults, which you can see as small imperfections in different variations.
another thing you should take to a consideration is that in the modern world to make a wood based kiln will cost a lot of money, since wood is expensive compare to gas, off course i do believe some of the kilns who try to make forgery (however those cannot be mass produce kilns, but private ones) maybe are trying to use wood based kiln in order to make an item appear more genuine, but this is risky, since the temperature cannot be controlled and they risk of loosing precious time and materials.
as you probably know, the mass produce kilns are using Molds to create the porcelain, what makes each piece to be exactly in the same shape, however if you will look closely on the real Yuan dynasty vase you will see a shape that will be too difficult to achieve since the mold will not be able to support it because of the almost square shape.
another thing you should take to consideration is the material that have been used, with the original vase the porcelain is made of a high quality and the vase is very heavy, it weights 10.5 kilograms, while the forgery ones weight less.
even though it is possible to create artificial crackles, those usually happens in the end of the firing process when the outside surface cools before the clay underneath, small crackles can also happen during years of use and wear, you can see this vase has some crackles in different parts of the porcelain, after close examination with magnifying glass, those crackles appear to be genuine, you can see their yellowish/brown color that it is due to its age.
The color is another important element to check, as if it match’s the period color, since some colors were only available in different periods, it can point out to an answer wherever the item is genuine or not, and also approximately the year it was made, note that many of the porcelain today is made with chemical color, which to trained eye is easy to detect.
The color in this vase looks right to be a Yuan dynasty vase, the style of painting match’s for Yuan, as well is the design,
you can see some of the iron that was mixed with the color start to go to the surface of the porcelain, which bring me to the next point.
Rust spots are maybe one of the most important age signs you can find in porcelain, it is very difficult to artificially make, and even though its possible, someone who have seen a real rust spot on antique Chinese porcelain will know the difference, the forgers have not quite figured this one yet,
Since clay has some impurities, being a mineral coming from the nature, mostly it has iron mixed with it, after few hundreds of years, the iron start moving to the surface and it become oxidized when touches the air, and receive black to brownish color, usually you can find rust spots from Yuan/Ming dynasties, since enough time has passed since then, and the iron had time to touch the surface, Qing dynasty porcelain, usually does not have any rust spots, although you can find some pieces who has it, but it less common because the clay material in the Qing dynasty has developed and the porcelain is of higher quality.
You can see my vase has some rust spots in different parts of the surface.
Kiln Firing Faults
During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, the art and technology of porcelain making was still not at its best,
as mentioned above, the kilns were based on wood, and it was impossible to control the temperature and the wild fire inside, this have created many kiln firing faults, which can be seen as imperfections such as glaze contractions, small breaks, it can happen from another vessel which have exploded in the kiln from the heat, throwing chips everywhere, it can be seen as discoloration if the porcelain was far away from fire, if it didnt receive the appropriate temperature or was over heated, such imperfections were happening during the Yuan/Ming dynasties for about 70% of the heated wares, the other 30% were appropriate for official uses.
Although you can certainly find a perfect piece from Ming and Yuan dynasties it is uncommon and you should look for other age signs and be very cautious.
My Yuan dynasty vase show some glaze contractions, and small kiln firing faults,
Think about porcelain who is 700 years old, people must have used it at some point, unless it was buried in the ground for the whole time, and before it was buried it must have been used (off course there are exceptional, but most of the porcelain items will show some age signs) look for signs of use and wear, look at scratches on the surface, at the bottom, look for signs that this item really existed 700 years ago, as you can see in the pictures, my Yuan dynasty vase has some breaks and chips, it has scratches to the surface and shows many signs of use.
Although there is no provenance to support this claim, however after looking at all the signs for real antiques from Yuan dynasty, looking at the shape and compare it to the new made mass production porcelain , examine the bottom, see it wasn’t made by a mold, looking at the color of bottom and the shape, discovering crackles, rust spots, looking at the age signs and the wear this vase has been through all those years, examine the painting and style of design, shape, color and material,
This is a genuine, real, antique Chinese Yuan dynasty vase.
an Extremely rare piece, in every condition.