17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

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17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 12th 2014, 11:42 am

I know this isn't 20th century, but was hoping maybe someone had any knowledge to share. The reason I'm curious about this is because it came from the estate of a VERY savvy collector. I picked up something worth 5-figures there... Lots of high-end stuff

Anyway, most of her pieces were East Asian, but I can't even guess at where this thing could be from. Does anyone have any opinions?






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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by NaomiM on February 12th 2014, 12:34 pm

At first glance it appears Asian, but by a process of elimination:
Looks like a pinkish teracotta clay at the foot rim, which is softer than the porcelain used in the Far East and chips more easily. Plus it has a white glaze that has crazed in a way one wouldn't expect on porcelain, and glazed on the bottom, which, again, is not the oriental way. It has a cobalt blue decoration that appears to be a mix of Oriental bands and Western checkerboard. The rim has a lip which one wouldn't expect on oriental ginger jars that would normally have a straight rim to fit a lid. It looks like a functional pot which ginger jars are, so one would expect a lid if it was Chinese.

I think it's Continental tin glazed maiolica. Possibly from Italy (or Florence) because of the pinkish clay.
As for date, 18th, maybe 19th, Century - difficult to tell because the Italians like their classical forms and have continued making copies into the 21st Century but there's no maker's mark which indicates a 19thC or earlier date .

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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 12th 2014, 1:44 pm

Wow, you really know your stuff! I can't seem to find any similar Italian pieces on Google though.. I do VAGUELY get an old Italian vibe from it though. I'll keep looking. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by r-and-f on February 12th 2014, 8:04 pm

I think I'd be inclined to locate it quite a bit to the east of Italy - looks to me to have some characteristics of Ottoman/Islamic tin-glazed cobalt-blue decorated earthenware. You might try browsing on images of Persian pottery (e.g Safavid or Qajar), or Turkish (perhaps not Iznik but other regions), or Syrian (e.g. Damascus), or even Indian (e.g. Jaipur). It could well be 18th or 19th century.

If you email your photos to the ceramics department at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, they might be able to identify it for you.
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 12th 2014, 10:54 pm

Wow, I found some Safavid pottery that looked REALLY, REALLY similar, same cobalt, same crackle, same discoloration, same terracotta. In fact most of it looks like mine. I think you may be on to something there. Thanks a lot r-and-f, you're pretty darn knowledgable!
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 13th 2014, 5:36 am

If I may ask, how does one become as knowledgable as people like yourselves? Any specific books, or is it just lots of Googling and growing up with it in the family?
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by NaomiM on February 13th 2014, 11:25 am

In my case, Lots of googling and handling stuff at antiques fairs and shops. And a process of elimination and then making your best guess (as with my suggestion of Italy) , and then, hopefully someone else picks up the baton and narrows it down further, or disagrees with you completely. Laughter
Five years ago I was collecting books. If you're passionate about collecting then it doesn't take too long to become a adept, ie make an educated guess. Becoming an expert, however, can take a lifetime. And even then they can get it wrong so always double check. If it's early American it can be worth a lot. If it's provincial Italian then not so much. And if it's Turkish or Indian then less again. Worth taking it to a museum and asking them.

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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by r-and-f on February 13th 2014, 9:41 pm

With me, it's merely a matter of obsession - too much time spent hanging around junk shops and auctions over the last half-century, buying nice (sometimes not-so-nice) things, then rushing home (or to the public library in that distant age before broadband), and Googling until I'm goggle-eyed, in the hope of identifying them and learning about them.
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 13th 2014, 11:35 pm

Well gee, that sounds just like me! Looks like I'm on my way to becoming an expert! I'm fairly knowledgable already, just not about anything older than about the 19th century. I'm still young too, I've got my whole life ahead of me to learn. Thank you VERY much you two, for taking the times out of your day to give me a little bit of the valuable information that you've spent a lifetime acquiring

Sincerely,
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by Potty on February 14th 2014, 5:05 pm

iLovePottery&Glass wrote:If I may ask, how does one become as knowledgable as people like yourselves?

Obsessive Manic Collecting Disorder - OMCD. Excellent

Naomi is severely affected poor thing! Big Laughter

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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 14th 2014, 5:08 pm

Yeah but she's really smart though
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by iLovePottery&Glass on February 15th 2014, 5:14 am

I was wondering, does anyone know if there's there some kind of course or class I can take to help me identify valuable Chinese and Japanese porcelain? Or do I just have to spend years on Gotheborg and eBay?
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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by Potty on February 16th 2014, 3:28 pm

For Chinese and Japanese Porcelain in particular you really do need to be able to handle the items in my opinion. Books and the internet only help so far, that area is full of convincing later reproduction's, so you need to handle the real thing.


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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by studio-pots on February 16th 2014, 5:14 pm

As Potty says there are absolutely no short cuts and relying on images of pots and marks in books, on the internet or even seeing and touching a few examples on a course are all very dangerous if you think that is going to make you an expert.

In China and Japan copying great pots and their marks is often seen as paying homage to that pot or potter rather than an act of deception.

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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by NaomiM on February 16th 2014, 8:25 pm

Agreed. As Potty & SP says you really need to handle the pots. There are so many subtle variations in weight, clay, glaze, colour, tint and texture that photos aren't adequate, and marks have been copied for centuries (and they still make the same pots with the same clays in the same provinces).
As I've said before on this forum my biggest mistake was putting down a Korean Dynasty vase at a local antiques fair, thinking it was nothing special. Turned out to be worth 50k. Someone got a bargain.

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Re: 17th(?) Century Cobalt Blue Ceramic Vase - Chinese? SE Asian? M Eastern?

Post by NaomiM on February 16th 2014, 8:35 pm

If you're serious about collecting Chinese and Japanese ceramics then is worth investing in a reference collection of positively dated pieces. Cracked pots are worth a fraction of the value of complete ones, and you can buy broken shards from archaeological digs. It can save you from making expensive mistakes.

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