Archive for the Antiques Corner Category

55-Carat Diamond Dazzles at NYC Museum

Posted in Antiques Corner with tags on July 17, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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55-Carat Diamond Dazzles at NYC Museum

Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer
Date: 10 July 2013 Time: 07:07 PM ET
The stunning Kimberley diamond was found at a mine in Kimberley, South Africa.
CREDIT: ©AMNH\D. Finnin 

The dazzling 55-carat Kimberley Diamond makes its debut at the American Museum of Natural History in New York Thursday (July 11).

The champagne-colored “cape diamond” was originally cut from a 490-carat stone found sometime before 1868 in theKimberley Mine in South Africa. (A carat is a unit of weight equivalent to about a fifth of a gram, or about 0.007 ounces.) The diamond was later cut to 70 carats in 1921, and cut to its stunning present form in 1958.

The diamond, which is on loan from the Bruce F. Stuart Trust, is about 1.25 inches (3.2 cm), and virtually flawless, said exhibit curator George Harlow. The original diamond was fairly large, but there aren’t many descriptions of it, so its history isn’t well-known, Harlow told LiveScience. [Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones]

Diamond is a form of carbon that is less stable than graphite, but stable at high pressures.

Most diamonds probably form underneath continents, but the process is somewhat mysterious. Carbon-containing fluids are thought to seep out of the deep mantle (the viscous layer between the Earth’s crust and core), and enter the lithosphere (the outermost rocky layer). There, a chemical reaction turns them into diamond.

“You’re talking on the order of 100 kilometers (62 miles) or more down into the Earth,” Harlow said.

Most diamonds are also very old, Harlow said. Using radioactive dating of minerals trapped inside the gems, scientists can determine their age. This diamond doesn’t contain the telltale radioactive minerals, so scientists don’t know exactly how old it is. But many diamonds from the same area are about 2 billion years old, Harlow said.

In order for the diamond to survive at the Earth’s surface, it has to get there fast. The precious stones hitch a speedy ride on magma. The magma starts out very deep and moves toward the surface at 22 to 25 mph (35-40 km/h). During a volcanic eruption, the magma creates little bubbles, “like champagne,” Harlow explained, adding that the debris can reach a speed of Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound).

“If you were there, you would see the most impressive explosion, then immediately be dead because of the shock wave,” Harlow said.

Diamonds were first found in rivers, where people were looking for gold. Dense minerals tend to collect in the bottoms of rivers, streams and beaches, Harlow said. In the 1870s, people found diamonds in rivers in South Africa. They followed the river upstream and found a gray-blue rock, or “blue ground.” This blue ground contained diamond, and because they were found in Kimberley, South Africa, they were called kimberlite.

A gem the size of the Kimberley diamond would not survive in modern mining techniques, Harlow said — it would be crushed during processing.

Even the diamond’s current size of 55 carats is fairly large. “It would have been a bit of a bonker on a ring,” Harlow said.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

Posted in Antiques Corner, SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 16, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

LiveScience Staff
Date: 14 May 2013 Time: 10:35 AM ET
The Snow Angel
The Snow Angel
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This mineral beauty, dubbed the “snow angel,” was discovered during the digging of a well in India. The specimen is a silicate mineral called apophyllite-(KF), which appears in volcanic rocks. The snow angel is one of dozens of gorgeous minerals up for auction June 2, 2013.
Gold Sculpture
Gold Sculpture
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The opening bid on this natural gold “sculpture” is $15,000. This specimen comes from the Eagle’s Nest Mine in Placer Co., Calif.
Linarite
Linarite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
A specimen of a copper mineral called linarite contains unusual large crystals and could, conceivably, fetch more than $100,000 at auction, according to the auction house. All of the proceeds from the sale go to benefit Dallas’s new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Tourmaline
Tourmaline
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This 16-inch (40 cm) tourmaline goes up for auction June 2, 2013 with a starting bid of $30,000. Tourmalines are boron silicate minerals that get their rainbow-like colors from various elements such as iron, sodium or magnesium. This specimen comes from Brazil.
Cumengeite Crystal
Cumengeite Crystal
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Tiny but super-rare, this cumengeite crystal perches on a throne of brecca, or broken-up rock and mineral naturally cemented together. Cumengeite is closely related to boleite, which forms cubes of a similar blue hue and is found in lead and copper deposits. This cumengeite measures just a centimeter across and comes from Mexico.
Stibnite Swords
Stibnite Swords
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This stibnite “swords” are made of the elements antimony and sulfur and are up for auction on June 2, 2013 with an opening bid of $32,500. This frozen firework of a mineral was found in the Lushi Mine in Henan, China and measures 9 by 10 by 4 inches (23 by 25 by 10 cm).
Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
These stunning red rhodochrosite crystals are made of manganese carbonate. The largest of the crystals measure about an inch (2.5 cm) in length.
Opal Egg
Opal Egg
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The smooth egg shape of this specimen isn’t natural, but the rainbow-colored opal vein inside is. This specimen was mined in 1985 in Oregon. The brown areas are rhyolite, a volcanic, igneous rock. Opals are made from silica (the same stuff as sand or quartz), but are infused with water molecules. The arrangement of the silica diffracts light, causing opal’s multicolored sheen.
Cubanite
Cubanite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Copper, iron and sulfur combine to make cubanite. This specimen, up for auction June 2, 2013, may be the largest cubanite crystal on record at 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across. This cubanite was discovered in a copper mine in Quebec, Canada.
Wulfenite
Wulfenite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The buyer of this wulfenite crystal (starting bid: $10,000) will also get a complete history of the specimen since discovery. Found in Mexico and first bought for $40, the chunk of wulfenite was owned by some of the early luminaries of the mineral business, according to Heritage Auctions. These crystals are made from lead, molybdenum and oxygen.
Strontianite
Strontianite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Delicate strontianite crystals top a Sphalerite (zinc ore) in this specimen from Hardin Co., Ill. Strontianite is made of the element strontium mixed with carbon and oxygen. Yellow and blue cubes of fluorite add a flourish to this otherwise black-and-white bit of geological art.
La Madona Rosa
La Madona Rosa
Credit: Heritage Auctions
“La Madona Rosa,” a rose quartz specimen from Brazil, gets its name from a supposed resemblance to the Virgin Mary. Mary’s body is formed out of smoky quartz with a halo of pink rose quartz outlining her. This sparkling beauty stands 15.5 inches (39 cm) tall, taller than other known rose quartz specimens. Quarz is made from silica, and titanium, manganese or iron lend rose quartz its pink hue. Smoky quartz’s color comes from free silicon in the mineral. The starting bid for La Madona Rosa is $100,000.

Chinese bowl sells for record-breaking sum

Posted in Antiques Corner with tags on April 8, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Chinese bowl sells for record-breaking sum

A red bowl with a lotus pattern broke the world record for Chinese Kangxi ceramics on Apr. 8, fetching over $9 million after a bidding war won by a Hong Kong ceramics dealer at the last day of spring sales for global auctioneer Sotheby’s.
Security guards chat in front of a light box featuring a photograph of a magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer Wiliam Chak has bought the bowl for HK$74 million ($9.5 million) on Monday, setting a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
A magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi is shown after Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer William Chak has bought it for HK$74 million ($9.5 million) at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release the deal set a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer William Chak poses with a magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi, after he bought it for HK$74 million (US$9.5 million) at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release the deal set a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)

Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing

Posted in Antiques Corner with tags on March 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Source  : Ben Draper – Canada

Ben April 2012

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Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing

Simply incredible …you have to hang in there for a minute before you see what this is all about. Amazing.

This is a short video on a pair of 200+ year-old mechanical singing bird pistols;whether or not you are an antique gun aficionado, you’ll be glad you took a moment to   watch. They are like great paintings. .. . only on a much grander scale.  These pistols sold for $5.8 million

 


                        http://www.christies.com/features/singing-bird-pistols-en-1422-3.aspx

 

10,000 diamonds on display at Buckingham Palace

Posted in Antiques Corner on July 2, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

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10,000 diamonds on display at Buckingham Palace

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/10-000-diamonds-on-display-at-buckingham-palace-slideshow/

More than 10,000 of the gems are going on display at Buckingham Palace in a celebration of jewelry owned by British monarchs over three centuries. The exhibition includes a coronation necklace and other gems worn by Queen Elizabeth II as well as items from the royal collection, including the miniature crown adorned with 1,187 diamonds worn by Queen Victoria for her 1897 Diamond Jubilee.

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London, in this file photograph dated May 15, 2012. More than 10,000 diamonds go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this week to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, in a dazzling display of gems gathered over the centuries as objects of beauty and symbols of power. The exhibition, which runs from June 30 to July 8 and then from July 31 to Oct. 7, was designed to coincide with the queen’s diamond jubilee this year, and features jewels she wears regularly at official functions in Britain and abroad. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/files (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan VII necklace at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan VII necklace at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London May 15, 2012. A special exhibition “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration” will run from June 30 – July 8 and July 31 – October 7, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee anniversary. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan III and IV brooch at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan III and IV brooch at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London, in this file photograph dated May 15, 2012. More than 10,000 diamonds go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this week to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, in a dazzling display of gems gathered over the centuries as objects of beauty and symbols of power. The exhibition, which runs from June 30 to July 8 and then from July 31 to Oct. 7, was designed to coincide with the queen’s diamond jubilee this year, and features jewels she wears regularly at official functions in Britain and abroad. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/files (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, holding the Delhi Durbar Tiara, on show for the first time and made to mark the succession of King George V as King Emperor in 1911

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, holding the Delhi Durbar Tiara, on show for the first time and made to mark the succession of King George V as King Emperor in 1911, at a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace, London. The new exhibition at Buckingham Palace shows jewels collected by six monarchs over three centuries to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee this summer. (AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, standing behind the Delhi Durbar Necklace and Cullinan Pendant made up of diamonds and emeralds, created for the Delhi Durbar of 19

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, standing behind the Delhi Durbar Necklace and Cullinan Pendant made up of diamonds and emeralds, created for the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and owned by Queen Mary, at a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace, London. The new exhibition at Buckingham Palace shows jewels collected by six monarchs over three centuries to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee this summer. (AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

The Queen wears the Diadem crown in May. The crown will be on display as part of the exhibition at Buckingham Palace

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is pictured wearing the Diadem crown at the opening of Parliament in May. More than 10,000 diamonds set in works worn by British monarchs for over 250 years will go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this summer to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee. The exhibition includes a range of the queen’s personal jewels, including the Diadem crown. (AFP Photo/SUZANNE PLUNKETT)

Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15M

Posted in Antiques Corner on April 22, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

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Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15M

The unusual coin was auctioned off Apr. 19 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/rare-1792-penny-sells-for-1-15m-1334938827-slideshow/rare-penny-photo-1334938707.html

Rare penny

A 1792 Silver Center Cent is shown on April 18, 2012 in Schaumburg, Illinois. The coin is scheduled to be auctioned by Heritage Auctions on April 19. Online bidding for the coin has already pushed the price over $1 million. The coin, considered the third best example of fourteen known to exist, was last sold at auction in 1974 when it reached a price of $105,000.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

World’s first all-diamond, 150-carat ring created by Swiss jeweler; worth $70 million

Posted in Antiques Corner on March 26, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

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World’s first all-diamond, 150-carat ring created by Swiss jeweler; worth $70 million

By Eric Pfeiffer | The Sideshow12 hrs ago
Switzerland’s Shawish Jewelryhas created the world’s first diamond ring.Not impressed? Well, consider that the entire ring  is carved from a diamond, whereas most other diamond rings are composed of a precious-metal band with a diamond centerpiece. Styleitewrites that the 150-carat ring runs laps around some other famous diamond competitors, including Beyoncé’s 18-carat engagement ring from Jay-Z and the even better known 30-carat ring given to the late Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton.The ring was created by Shawish’s president and CEO Mohamed Shawesh using lasers (yes, lasers!) along with traditional diamond cutting and polishing techniques. It took a full year to carve the ring, which has been copyrighted and is expected to sell for $70 million

Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones

Posted in Antiques Corner on March 21, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

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Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones

Remy Melina, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 09 February 2012 Time: 10:50 PM ET
Haunting and Haute Histories
Haunting and Haute Histories
Credit: Universal Pictures Diamonds and rubies and sapphires, oh my! Precious stones hold more than glitz and fame. They also hold mystery and intrigue. For instance, famous some are infamous for the misfortune they’re believed to attract to their owners. Other gems are notorious for the myths surrounding their history, such as La Peregrina Pearl, which Elizabeth Taylor proudly showed off during her cameo of the 1969 film “Anne of a Thousand Days.” Take a journey through these gorgeous gemstones and the titillating tales they hold.
The Hope Diamond — The Curse of Debt
The Hope Diamond — The Curse of Debt
Credit: Chip Clark | Smithsonian Institution | si.edu
At 45.52 carats, the beautiful grayish-blue Hope Diamond is 1 inch (25.6 millimeters) in length and 0.8 inch (21.7 mm) in width. Its history traces back to the 17th-century diamond mines of Golconda, India, where it was first purchased in its original, crudely cut, 112.19-carat form by the French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Tavernier sold the stone to King Louis XIV of France in 1668, who later had the stone re-cut and set in gold by the court jeweler. In 1792, after Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France — their escape was foiled and they were guillotined in 1793 — the diamond was stolen during a looting of the French Royal Treasury, according to theSmithsonian Institution. The diamond is believed to have then been owned by King George IV of England, but was sold after his death in 1830 to help settle his enormous debts. Thestone was then likely sold through private channels and was purchased by Henry Philip Hope, from whom it got its name. It was passed down to Hope’s family members until it was ultimately sold to help pay off their debts. The stone was then bought by a London dealer, who quickly sold it to Joseph Frankels and Sons of New York City, who retained the diamond until they too had to sell it to cover debts. In 1909, Pierre Cartier bought the Hope Diamond and sold it to Evalyn Walsh McLean, an American mining heiress and socialite. McLean had many misfortunes: her son died in a car accident, her daughter died of a drug overdose, her husband died in a sanitarium and her family was forced to sell their newspaper, the Washington Post, in a bankruptcy auction. After McLean’s death from pneumonia in 1947, Harry Winston Inc. purchased her entire jewelry collection. In 1958, Winston donated the iconic Hope Diamond, which is worth a quarter of a billion dollars, to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where it resides on display to this day. As the museum states on its website, it “appears to have maintained the Hope curse-free.”
The Koh-i-Noor Diamond — Gentlemen Beware
The Koh-i-Noor Diamond — Gentlemen Beware
Credit: Royal Collection | royal.gov.uk
Like the Hope Diamond, the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond is believed to have been extracted from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India; its name in Persian means “mountain of light.” Its first mention appears in the memoirs of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. Babur wrote that the diamond was stolen from the Rajah of Malwa in 1306, and that it was a whopping 739 carats in its original, uncut form, according to the “Firefly Guide to Gems” (Firefly Books Ltd., 2003). Throughout history, the gem traded hands among various Hindu, Mongolian, Persian, Afghan and Sikh rulers, who fought bitter and bloody battles to own it. According to folklore, a Hindu description of the Koh-i-Noor warns that “he who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God or woman can wear it with impunity.” Historical records indicate the diamond was acquired by the British in 1849 and given to Queen Victoria in 1850. To heed its legend, the diamond has since only been worn by women, including Queen Alexandraof Denmark, Queen Mary of Teck and the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, wife of King George VI. Currently, it is set as one of the jewels within a British monarchy crown that is kept at the Tower of London Jewel House.The fight to possess the Koh-i-Noor is ongoing — India has been unsuccessfully lobbying to get the diamond back for years, while the British government maintains that it owns the gem fair and square, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Black Prince’s Ruby — The Blood-Red "Great Impostor"
Black Prince’s Ruby — The Blood-Red “Great Impostor”
Black Prince’s ruby isn’t actually a ruby at all, but a large spinel — a hard, glassy mineral that crystallizes into various shades, including fiery red. Spinels are worth significantly less than rubies, which is why the Black Prince’s ruby is also known as “the great impostor.” The ruby is believed to have been mined from Badakshan, which is present-day Tajikistan. It was first recorded during the 14th century, when it was plundered from the Moorish Kingdom of Granada by Don Pedro the Cruel, who was the ruler of Seville, Spain, according to “Fire and Blood: Rubies in Myth, Magic, and History,” (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008) The “ruby” was then owned by Edward of Woodstock, who was called “the Black Prince,” because of his success on the battlefield during the Hundred Years’ War. In 1415, King Henry V attained the Black Prince’s ruby and had it set in his battle helmet alongside real rubies. The king wore the helmet when he defeated the French forces at the Battle of Agincourt. The gem was passed along to British royalty, including Henry VIII and his daughter, Elizabeth I, until King Charles I was beheaded for treason in 1649 and the stone was sold. Charles II bought the stone back from an unknown party, but nearly lost it when the infamous Irish colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal the crown jewels of England from the Tower of London in 1671. Currently, the Black Prince’s ruby is set dead-center at the front of the Imperial State Crown of England.
The Delhi Purple Sapphire — "Cursed" Quartz
The Delhi Purple Sapphire — “Cursed” Quartz
The Delhi Purple sapphire is another imposter, because it isn’t really a sapphire, but an amethyst, which is a type of violet-hued quartz. The mysterious stone is rumored to have been stolen by a British solider from the Temple of Indra, the Hindu god of war and weather, in Kanpur, India, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It was brought to England by Colonel W. Ferris, whose family then supposedly suffered many financial and health woes. The stone was given to Edward Heron-Allen, a scientist and writer, in 1890, who claimed to have started having bad luck immediately after receiving it. He gave the amethyst away to friends, who were also struck with misfortune and quickly returned the gift back to him. Heron-Allen warned that the Delhi Purple sapphire is “accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it.” Wary of its alleged powers, he kept it locked away in seven boxes and surrounded by good luck charms. After his death, Heron-Allen’s daughter donated the amethyst to London’s Natural History Museum in 1943. Along with the stone, she gave them a letter that her father wrote cautioning future owners against directly handling it. The mysterious Delhi Purple sapphire is now permanently on display as part of the Natural History Museum’s Vault Collection of precious gemstones.
La Peregrina Pearl — Tempestuous Token of Love
La Peregrina Pearl — Tempestuous Token of Love
Credit: Ana Herda
Elizabeth Taylor loved her gems — and one of her favorites was La Peregrina Pearl, a 50.6-carat pearl that is one of the largest found pearls in the world. It measures approximately 0.7 inch (17 millimeters) by 1 inch (25 mm). La Peregrina means “the pilgrim” or “the wanderer” in Spanish, and the pearl was discovered in the Gulf of Panama during the 16th century. King Philip II of Spain gave the pearl to Queen Mary I of England before their marriage in 1554, but he later abandoned her and she died in 1558 without an heir. She was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” after her death because of the hundreds of Protestants she ordered to be executed during her five-year reign. Following the queen’s death, La Peregrina Pearl was returned to King Philip II, who then proposed to Mary I’s younger half-sister, Elizabeth I. The pearl was worn by Spanish royalty until the 19th century, when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded and the French seized the Spanish crown — and the pearl. La Peregrina Pearlwas passed down to members of the Bonaparte family, but was ultimately sold to Lord James Hamilton in 1873. It was then sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 1969 to Richard Burton, who gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as a Valentine’s Day present. The couple married and divorced twice — with their second marriage lasting only nine months. Elizabeth Taylor held on to the pearl and married a total of eight times. After Taylor’s death in 2011, La Peregrina Pearl was bought for 11.8 million by an anonymous buyer at a Christie’s auction, according to the auction house’s official site.
The Black Orlov — The Eye of Brahma Diamond
The Black Orlov — The Eye of Brahma Diamond
Credit: Natural History Museum | nhm.ac.uk
The Black Orlov, a 67.50-carat, cushion-cut diamond, wasunearthed in India during the early1800s. Despite its name, the Black Orlovis actually a deep, gunmetal gray in color. According to lore surrounding the Black Orlov — which is similar to the supposed back-stories of many “cursed” gems — the diamond was stolen from asacred shrine in Southern India. The then-195-carat stone was allegedly removed from the eye of a statue of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, wisdom and magic. Legend has it the diamond was later acquired by the Russian princess Nadezhda Orlov, also known as Nadia Orlov, whom the stone was named after, according to “The Nature of Diamonds” (Cambridge University Press, 1998). It’s rumored that Princess Nadia, along with two of the Black Orlov’s other owners, upon attaining the diamond, committed suicide by jumping off of buildings, but these stories have not been substantiated. In 1947, Charles F. Winson bought the diamond and cut it to its current size, also placing it in a setting surrounded by 108 diamonds and hanging it on a necklace of 124 diamonds. It has since been purchased and resold by a succession of private owners, and has been displayed at several museums, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and London’s Natural History Museum.
The Blue Diamond — A Source of Mystery
The Blue Diamond — A Source of Mystery
The Blue Diamond is the only precious stone whose current whereabouts are unknown — and whose existence has even been questioned. But it continues to be a source of bitter, ongoing drama. The story begins in 1989, when a Thai janitor employed at the Saudi royal family’s palace crept into Prince Faisal bin Fahd’s bedroom and stole a large amount of jewelry, including a blue diamond that’s said to be bigger than the current dimensions of the Blue Diamond. Allegedly, he hid the jewels in the bag of his vacuum cleaner, then smuggled them to Thailand, although Thai authorities maintain that there is no evidence that the Blue Diamond even exists. According to the Thai press, after Saudi authorities alerted Thai police of the crime, they captured the thief, but not before he sold off some of the jewels. He was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released after three. Thai officials returned what was left of the loot to the royal family, who asserted that the Blue Diamond was still missing and that about half of the returned jewels were fakes. The murders and disappearances of several Saudi diplomats and businessmen who had flown to Bangkok to investigate the robbery have been linked to the so-called “Blue Diamond Affair,” but Thai authorities insist that there’s no proof that the events are connected. In 1995, Chalor Kerdthes, the police officer in charge of the initial investigation, was sentenced to death for ordering the murder of the wife and 14-year-old son of the Thai jeweler who had been accused of making the imitation jewels. His sentence has since been reduced to 50 years, and the mysterious case of the Blue Diamond continues to strain Saudi-Thai diplomatic relations, according to an article published in The Economist in September 2010. Because of all the deaths associated with the mysterious gem, the Blue Diamond is said place a curse onanyone who handles it illegally.
The Sancy Diamond — A Colorful History
The Sancy Diamond — A Colorful History
Credit: Wiki Commons
The pear-shaped Sancy diamond may appear to be white, but it actually has a pale yellow tint. The 55.23-carat diamond is believed to have originated in India. Nicolas Harlay de Sancy, a French soldier who would later become a French Ambassador to Turkey, bought the diamond in 1570. He rented the diamond to Henry III of France in 1589, then to Henry IV. In 1604, Sancy sold the diamond to James I of England, who wore the stone as a good luck charm. One legend tells that while the diamond was being transported by King Henry IV‘s men, the courier was robbed and murdered. He had swallowed the jewel to keep it safe, and theSancy was later recovered from his stomach during his autopsy, according to the myth. The diamond disappeared during the French Revolution, when the Royal Treasury was raided and the Sancy was stolen, along with the Regent diamond and the Hope diamond. The Sancy resurfaced in 1828, when it was bought by the Russian prince Nicholas Demidoff, who passed it down to his son Paul. A Bombay merchant then bought the diamond and exhibited it in Paris in 1867. It was sold toWilliam Waldorf Astor in 1906, and stayed in the family until 1978, when it was sold to the Louvre Museum in Paris. It’s now on exhibit at the museum’s Apollo Gallery, where it was reunited with the Regent diamond.
The Cullinan Diamond I — The Star of Africa Diamond
The Cullinan Diamond I — The Star of Africa Diamond
The 530.20-carat Cullinan Diamond I comes from the world’s largest found diamond gem called the Cullinan, which was 3,106.75 carats in its rough state. The Cullinan was found in a South African diamond mine in 1905. According to one story, mine superintendant Frederick Wells, who found the Cullinan diamond just 29 feet (9 meters) below the ground’s surface, first thought that the other miners had placed a giant chunk of glass into the ground as a practical joke. He brought it to the inspector, who also thought it was too big to be a diamond and reportedly chucked it out the window, according to the “Firefly Guide to Gems” (Firefly Books Ltd., 2003).Good thing Wells retrieved the massive stone and ordered it to be checked just in case, because he reportedly received a hefty reward for finding the Cullinan. The stone was named after the owner of the mine, Sir Thomas Cullinan, and the giant Cullinan Diamond was later cut into nine separate diamonds and a whopping 96 smaller brilliants. The pear-shaped Cullinan Diamond I is the largest piece cut from the original. Another unconfirmed anecdote tells that when the appointed lapidary first attempted to cut the Cullinan Diamond, his blade broke. After a successful second attempt, he was apparently so relieved that he fell down in a dead faint. Also known as the Great Star of Africa, the Cullinan Diamond I was purchased by the Transvaal government, then gifted to King Edward VII as a generous birthday present. The diamond is now set in the Sovereign’s royal scepter and rests in the Tower of London.
The Orlov Diamond — Relic of a Failed Romance
The Orlov Diamond — Relic of a Failed Romance
Like the Black Orlov, the Orlov Diamond, which has a faint bluish-green tinge, is rumored to have once served as the eye of a Hindu god statue. The rose-cut diamond has a dome shape that resembles an egg that’s been cut in half. At 189.62 carats, the Orlov is one of the largest found diamonds in the world. Legend has it that during the 18th century, a French solider stole it from a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, India. The Orlov (sometimes spelled Orloff), was then sold and resold until it ended up in Amsterdam, where it was bought by Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, a Russian count. Orlov had been having an affair with Catherine II while she was married to Peter III of Russia. Peter III was ultimately dethroned, Catherine subsequently became Catherine the Great of Russia and had an illegitimate child with Count Orlov. However, she ultimately left the count for a Russian prince, and the heartbroken Orlov gave her the giant diamond in an attempt to win back her affections. Orlov’s grand romantic gesture was unsuccessful, but Catherine named the diamond after him and had it set in her royal scepter. Currently, the Orlov is part of the Kremlin Diamond Fund, an exhibit in Moscowshowcasing Russia’s crown jewels.
The Regent Diamond — The Pawned Pitt Diamond
The Regent Diamond — The Pawned Pitt Diamond
Credit: Diamant dit Le Régent | Département des Objets d’Art | © 2004 Musée du Louvre | Erich Lessing.
The Regent Diamond was mined in 1701 in India and was 410 carats in its original, uncut form. Morbid myths surrounding the stone allege that it was found by a slave, who managed to conceal it inside a large, self-inflicted wound in his leg. The myth states that after stealing the diamond from the mine, the slave conspired with an English sea captain to smuggle it away on his ship, but the captain then drowned the slave and sold the diamond, according to “Diamond Deposits: Origin, Exploration, and History of Discovery” (Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., 2002). An English governor named Thomas Pitt bought the diamond, which has a pale blue tint, and named it after himself. He had the diamond cut to its current size of 140.64 carats and sold it the French Regent Philippe II of Orleans in 1717. The diamond was renamed as the Regent, and the French royal family showed it off in several settings, including in the crown of King Louis XV. In 1792, the Regent was stolen, but was located a few months later. The stone was later pawned to a Berlin jeweler to help raise funds for the French army, according to “Diamond Deposits.” Napoleon Bonaparte, also known as Napoleon I, claimed the diamond back in 1801, having it set in the handle of his sword. Following Napoleon’s death in 1821, his widow, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, brought the diamond with her to Austria, but it was later returned to France as a present. The Regent then graced the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III. Currently, the diamond remains set in a diadem designed for the French Empress Eugenie, and is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris, along with another gem on our list, the Sancy Diamond.
The Taylor-Burton — Bad Romance Diamond for a Good Cause
The Taylor-Burton — Bad Romance Diamond for a Good Cause
Credit: Lucille Ball Productions, 1970
Another of Elizabeth Taylor‘s gems, the Taylor-Burton Diamond, which was mined in South Africa in 1966, was originally 240.80 carats; Harry Winston bought it and had it cut into its current 69.42-carat pear shape. The diamond was put up for auction in 1969, and although actor Richard Burton bid on it, he was outbid by the owners of Cartier Inc., who paid a record price of $1,050,000 for the diamond and renamed it the Cartier Diamond. Determined, Burton worked out a six-figure deal with Cartier, purchasing the diamond from them under the condition that the company first display the stone in Cartier stores in New York and Chicago. Burton then gave the diamond to Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday during their first marriage. Originally, the massive sparkler was set in a ring, as shown in this still from the TV show “Here’s Lucy,” during an episode in which Taylor and Burton guest-starred. Taylor later commissioned Cartier to design and set the diamond in a necklace. The couple renamed the stone the Taylor-Burton Diamond, and it served to represent their lavish lifestyle and larger-than-life relationship: the two allegedly fell in love while filming “Cleopatra” in 1963 — when they were both married to other people. The couple caused numerous tabloid frenzies throughout the years, with their relationship sometimes referred to as “the love affair of the century.” Taylor proudly showed off the Taylor-Burton Diamond at movie premiers and events, including Princess Grace’s 40th birthday party in Monaco. After she and Burton divorced for the second time, Taylor auctioned off the rock in 1978 to an anonymous buyer from Saudi Arabia. Reports of how much the diamond sold for range from $2 million to $5 million, but whatever the amount, Taylor used part of the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana, Africa, at a site near where the diamond had been mined.
The Star Of India — The Stolen Star
The Star Of India — The Stolen Star
The deep blue, oval star sapphire known as the Star of India weighs 563.35 carats. Unlike the other gemstones in this gallery, this star sapphire is a rounded, polished cabochon, rather than faceted. The largest found blue sapphire in the world, the Star of India’s origin is believed to trace back to Sri Lanka, where it was discovered an estimated 300 years ago. The stone’s rare, characteristic star design occurred naturally. Tiny fibers of the mineral rutile aligned in a three-fold pattern within the gem, causing incoming light to reflect in a star pattern — an effect known as asterism. In 1900, the Star of India was donated by industrialist J.P. Morgan to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It was stolen from the museum in 1964, when a group of thieves left a bathroom window unlocked during the day and climbed in through the window at night. At the time, the uninsuredStar of India was the only gem in the museum’s exhibit that was protected by an alarm, but as luck would have it, the alarm’s battery was dead, according to media reports. The men snatched the gem, along with several other precious stones that were on exhibit, and escaped back out the window. The robbery was one of the biggest gem heists in American history, but the three thieves were captured within only two days. While some of the stolen gems were never seen again, theStar of India was miraculously recovered in a Miami bus station locker several months later. The Star of India was put back on display at the American Museum of Natural History, where it remains on permanent display to this day — hopefully guarded by a more reliable alarm system.

‘Beau Sancy’ diamond highlighting 400 years of European royal intrigue goes up for auction

Posted in Antiques Corner on March 1, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 516

‘Beau Sancy’ diamond highlighting 400 years of European royal intrigue goes up for auction

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/28/10532386-beau-sancy-diamond-highlighting-400-years-of-european-royal-intrigue-goes-up-for-auction

AFP – Getty Images

This 35-carat pear-shaped diamond that Marie de Medici wore at her coronation in 1610 will be auctioned on May 15, 2012, in Geneva.

(By msnbc.com staff and news services)

A huge diamond coveted by European kings, queens and princes for centuries, used to reinforce alliances between nations and pawned to pay off royal debts goes on sale at Sotheby’s in Geneva on May 15.

The auction house called the “Beau Sancy” gem “one of the most important historic diamonds ever to come to auction,” reflecting its part in the fluctuating fortunes of Europe’s royal families for more than 400 years.


The stone, a 35-carat modified “pear double rose cut” diamond belonging to Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia and head of the former ruling dynasty of the German empire, is expected to fetch $2 million to $4 million.

PHOTO: Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia and his fiance Princess Sophie Johanna Maria of Isenburg attend the firework celebrations at the Opera Terraces.

Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia and his fiance Princess Sophie Johanna Maria of Isenburg attend the official dinner and firework celebrations at the Opera Terraces.  (Tony Barson/Getty Images)

“It’s a stone that appeals to me greatly as a survivor of all those tumultuous events,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry in Europe and the Middle East. Swedish royals release first photos of princess

“Stones from royal collections hardly ever appear at auction. In my career this is an absolute one-off,” he told Reuters by telephone from New York.

Bennett, who sold a pink diamond for $46.2 million in 2010 which was a record for any jewel at auction, said estimating the value of a stone like the Beau Sancy was difficult given its rarity.

“It is the most important and oldest stone to come onto the art market, Phillip Herzog von Wurttemberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe told the Local, an English language website in Germany. “It is set very simply in a hook with a loop so it could be put on a necklace.”

The diamond originated from the mines in India near Golconda and was acquired by Nicolas de Harlay, Lord of Sancy, in Constantinople in the 1500s, explaining its name.

In 1604 it was bought for 75,000 livres by French King Henry IV as a gift for his wife, Marie de Medici.

Jealous queen? According to Sotheby’s, the queen had long coveted the stone, especially after learning that de Harlay had sold a larger diamond called the Sancy and now part of the Louvre Collection to King James I of England.

Henry IV was assassinated in 1610, and after years of rivalry between Marie and her son King Louis XIII, she was eventually exiled in disgrace.

She escaped to the Netherlands, and to settle her debts her possessions were sold, including the Beau Sancy which was acquired by Prince Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau for 80,000 florins, the largest expenditure in the state budget of 1641.

In the same year, the diamond was used as a sweetener to help seal the wedding of Frederick’s son William to Mary Stuart, daughter of King Charles I of England.

Following Mary’s death in 1660, the Beau Sancy was pawned to settle her debts, but in 1677 the stone re-entered the Treasure of the House of Orange-Nassau following the wedding of William III to Mary II Stuart.

The couple ascended the throne of England in 1689, meaning the Beau Sancy entered the collection of the Queen of England, but since the couple had no children, the diamond returned to the Netherlands.

Hidden in crypt From there it moved to the Prussian monarchy in 1702, becoming the principal ornament of the new royal crown of Prussia, but its dramatic story did not end there.

The diamond remained in Berlin after the last king of Prussia fled to exile in November, 1918 at the end of World War I, and at the end of World War II it was transferred to a bricked-up crypt for safe-keeping.

British troops found the stone and returned it to the estate of House of Prussia, where it has remained ever since.

The Beau Sancy, which has been shown publicly only four times in the past 50 years, will be exhibited to the public in an international tour before the Geneva auction, according to Sotheby’s.

Here are the dates and locations of the public exhibitions:

  • Hong Kong — March 30- April 2
  • New York – April 14-16
  • Rome -  April 19
  • Paris – April 24-25
  • London – April 27-30
  • Zurich – May 2-3
  • Geneva  – May 11-15

Reuters contributed to this report.

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CHINESE CERAMICS

Posted in Antiques Corner, WORLD'S HISTORY on February 10, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 379

CHINESE CERAMICS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:Yellow dragon jar (cropped).JPG
Ming covered red jar with dragon and sea design from the Jiajing reign
Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development since the pre-dynastic periods, and is one of the most significant forms of Chinese artChina is richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making ceramics. The first types of ceramics were made during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese Ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built potteryvessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court. Porcelain is also occassionally called “china” in English.

Introduction

Terminology and categories

File:Song Dynasty Porcelain.jpg

A qingbai porcelain vase, bowl, and model of a granary with transparent blue-toned glaze, from the period of theSong Dynasty (960-1279 AD).

Porcelain ”it is a collective term comprising all ceramic ware that is white and translucent, no matter what ingredients are used to make it or to what use it is put.” The Chinese tradition recognizes two primary categories of ceramics, high-fired [cí 瓷] and low-fired [táo 陶]. The oldest Chinese dictionaries define porcelain [cí 瓷] as “fine, compact pottery” [táo 陶]. Chinese ceramic wares can also classified as being either northern or southern. Present-day China comprises two separate and geologically different land masses, brought together by the action of continental drift and forming a junction that lies between the Yellow river and the Yangtze river. The contrasting geology of the north and south led to differences in the raw materials available for making ceramics.

Materials

Chinese porcelain is mainly made by a combination of the following materials:

File:CMOC Treasures of Ancient China exhibit - black pottery cauldron.jpg

A black pottery cooking cauldron from the Hemudu culture (c. 5000 – c. 3000 BC)

Technical developments

In the context of Chinese ceramics, the term porcelain lacks a universally accepted definition. This in turn has led to confusion about when the first Chinese porcelain was made. Claims have been made for the late Eastern Han period (100 to 200 AD), the Three Kingdoms period (220 to 280 AD), the Six Dynasties period (220 to 589 AD), and the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906 AD).

Early wares

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 reports that pottery that dates back to 18,000 years ago in the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China has been found, making it among the earliest pottery yet found. Fragments of pottery vessels dating from around 9000 BC found at theXianrendong (Spirit Cave) site, Wannian County, in the province of Jiangxi represent some of the earliest known Chinese ceramics. The wares were hand-made by coiling and fired in bonfires. Decorations include impressed cord marks, and features produced by stamping and by piercing.

The Xianrendong site was occupied from about 9000 BC to about 4000 BC. During this period two types of pottery were made. The first consisted of coarse-bodied wares possibly intended for everyday use. The second being finer, thinner-bodied wares possibly intended for ritual use or special occasions. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that both types of wares were produced at the same time at some point.

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Painted pottery pot with raised reliefs of dragons andphoenixesWestern Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD)

Han dynasty, 202 BC-220 AD

Some experts believe the first true porcelain was made in the province of Zhejiang during the Eastern Hanperiod. Shards recovered from archaeological Eastern Han kiln sites estimated firing temperature ranged from 1260 to 1300 °C. As far back as 1000 BC, the so-called “Porcelaneous wares” or “proto-porcelain wares”were made using at least some kaolin fired at high temperatures. The dividing line between the two and true porcelain wares is not a clear one. Archaeological finds have pushed the dates to as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).

The late Han years saw the early development of the peculiar art form of hunping, or “soul jar”: a funerary jar whose top was decorated by a sculptural composition. This type vessels became widespread during the following Jin Dynasty and the Six Dynasties.

Sui and Tang dynasties, 581-907

During the Sui and Tang periods (581 to 907) a wide range of ceramics, low-fired and high-fired, were produced. These included the well-known Tang lead-glazed sancai (three-colour) wares, the high-firing, lime-glazed Yue celadon wares and low-fired wares from Changsha. In northern China, high-fired, translucent porcelains were made at kilns in the provinces of Henan and Hebei.

File:Earthenware dish with sancai glaze and rosette medallion, Tang Dynasty.JPG

sancai glazed dish from the late 7th or early 8th century, Tang Dynasty(618–907)

One of the first mentions of porcelain by a foreigner was in the Chain of Chronicles written by theArabian traveler and merchant Suleiman in 851 AD during the Tang Dynasty who recorded that:

They have in China a very fine clay with which they make vases which are as transparent as glass; water is seen through them. The vases are made of clay.

The Arabs were aware of the materials necessary to create glass ware, and he was certain that the porcelain that he saw was not the usual glass material.

Song and Yuan dynasties, 960-1368

The city of Jingdezhen (also Jingde Zhen) has been a central place of production since the early Han Dynasty. In 1004, Jingde established the city as the main production hub for Imperial porcelain. During the Song and Yuan dynasties, porcelain made in the city and other southern China kiln sites used crushed and refined pottery stones alone.

File:Porcelaine chinoise Guimet 261101.jpg

Goldfish Vase, reign of the Jiajing Emperor (1521–67); Porcelain; Paris,Musée Guimet 261101

Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

The Ming Dynasty saw an extraordinary period of innovation in ceramic manufacture. Kilns investigated new techniques in design and shapes, showing a predilection for colour and painted design, and an openness to foreign forms. The Yongle Emperor (1402–24) was especially curious about other countries (as evidenced by his support of the eunuch Zheng He‘s extended exploration of the Indian Ocean), and enjoyed unusual shapes, many inspired by Islamic metalwork,During the Xuande reign (1425–35), a technical refinement was introduced in the preparation of thecobalt used for underglaze blue decoration. Prior to this the cobalt had been brilliant in colour, but with a tendency to bleed in firing; by adding a manganese the colour was duller, but the line crisper. Xuande porcelain is now considered among the finest of all Ming output. Enamelled decoration (such as the one at left) was perfected under the Chenghua Emperor (1464–87), and greatly prized by later collectors. Indeed by the late sixteenth century, Chenghua and Xuande era works – especially wine cups– had grown so much in popularity, that their prices nearly matched genuine antique wares of Song or even older. This esteem for relatively recent ceramics excited much scorn on the part of literati scholars (such as Wen ZhenhengTu Long, and Gao Lian, who is cited below); these men fancied themselves arbiters of taste and found the painted aesthetic ‘vulgar.’

In addition to these decorative innovations, the late Ming period underwent a dramatic shift towards a market economy,[19] exporting porcelain around the world on an unprecedented scale. Thus aside from supplying porcelain for domestic use, the kilns at Jingdezhen became the main production centre for large-scale porcelain exports to Europe starting with the reign of the Wanli Emperor (1572–1620). By this time, kaolinand pottery stone were mixed in about equal proportions. Kaolin produced wares of great strength when added to the paste; it also enhanced the whiteness of the body – a trait that became a much sought after property, especially when form blue-and-white wares grew in popularity. Pottery stone could be fired at a lower temperature (1250 °C) than paste mixed with kaolin, which required 1350 °C. These sorts of variations were important to keep in mind because the large southern egg-shaped kiln varied greatly in temperature. Near the firebox it was hottest; near the chimney, at the opposite end of the kiln, it was cooler.

File:Qing-YellowGlazedBrushHolderJingdezhenWare-ShanghaiMuseum-May27-08.jpg

Yellow-glazed brush-holder, “Chen Guo Zhi” mark; Jingdezhen Daoguangreign, (1821-50); Shanghai Museum

Qing dynasty, 1644-1911

Primary source material on Qing Dynasty porcelain is available from both foreign residents and domestic authors. Two letters written by Père Francois Xavier d’Entrecolles, a Jesuit missionary and industrial spy who lived and worked in Jingdezhen in the early eighteenth century, described in detail manufacturing of porcelain in the city. In his first letter dated 1712, d’Entrecolles described the way in which pottery stones were crushed, refined and formed into little white bricks, known in Chinese aspetuntse. He then went on to describe the refining of china clay kaolin along with the developmental stages of glazing and firing. He explained his motives:

Nothing but my curiosity could ever have prompted me to such researches, but it appears to me that a minute description of all that concerns this kind of work might, be useful in Europe.

In 1743, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, Tang Ying, the imperial supervisor in the city produced a memoir entitled “Twenty illustrations of the manufacture of porcelain.” Unfortunately, the original illustrations have been lost, but the text of the memoir is still accessible.

Types of Chinese porcelain wares

File:Tang horse.jpg

Tang Dynasty (618–907) sancaihorse at the Shanghai Museum

Tang Sancai burial wares

Main article: Sancai

Sancai means three-colours. However, the colours of the glazes used to decorate the wares of the Tang dynasty were not limited to three in number. In the West, Tang sancai wares were sometimes referred to as egg-and-spinach by dealers for the use of green, yellow and white. Though the latter of the two colours might be more properly described as amber and off-white / cream.

Sancai wares were northern wares made using white and buff-firing secondary kaolins and fire clays. At kiln sites located at Tongchuan, Neiqui county in Hebei and Gongxian in Henan,[22] the clays used for burial wares were similar to those used by Tang potters. The burial wares were fired at a lower temperature than contemporaneous whitewares. Burial wares, such as the well-known representations of camels and horses, were cast in sections, in moulds with the parts luted together using clay slip. In some cases, a degree of individuality was imparted to the assembled figurines by hand-carving.

Jian tea wares

Jian blackwares, mainly comprising tea wares, were made at kilns located in Jianyang of Fujian province. They reached the peak of their popularity during the Song dynasty. The wares were made using locally-won, iron-rich clays and fired in an oxidising atmosphere at temperatures in the region of 1300 °C. The glaze was made using clay similar to that used for forming the body, except fluxed with wood-ash. At high temperatures the molten glaze separate to produce a pattern called hare’s fur. When Jian wares were set tilted for firing, drips run down the side, creating evidence of liquid glaze pooling.

File:Jian bowl.jpg

Jian tea bowl Song Dynasty, (960–1279); Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1891.1.226

The hare’s fur Jian tea bowl illustrated in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was made during the Song dynasty (960 to 1279 AD) and exhibits the typical pooling, or thickening, of the glaze near the bottom. The hare’s fur patterning in the glaze of this bowl resulted from the random effect of phase separation during early cooling in the kiln and is unique to this bowl. This phase separation in the iron-rich glazes of Chinese blackwares was also used to produce the well-known oil-spotteadustand partridge-feather glaze effects. No two bowls have identical patterning. The bowl also has a dark brown iron-foot which is typical of this style. It would have been fired, probably with several thousand other pieces, each in its own stackable saggar, in a single-firing in a large dragon kiln. One such kiln, built on the side of a steep hill, was almost 150 metres in length, though most Jian dragon kilns were fewer than 100 metres in length.

An 11th century resident of Fujian wrote:

Tea is of light colour and looks best in black cups. The cups made at Jianyang are bluish-black in colour, marked like the fur of a hare. Being of rather thick fabric they retain the heat, so that when once warmed through they cool very slowly, and they are additionally valued on this account. None of the cups produced at other places can rival these. Blue and white cups are not used by those who give tea-tasting parties.

At the time, tea was prepared by whisking powdered leaves that had been pressed into dried cakes together with hot water, (somewhat akin to matcha in Japanese Tea Ceremony). The water added to this powder produced a white froth that would stand out better against a dark bowl. Tastes in preparation changed during the Ming dynasty; the Hongwu Emperor himself preferred leaves to powdered cakes, and would accept only leaf tea as tribute from tea-producing regions. Leaf tea, in contrast to powdered tea, was prepared by steeping whole leaves in boiling water – a process that led to the invention of the teapot and subsequent popularity of Yixing wares over the dark tea bowls.

Jian tea wares of the Song dynasty were also greatly appreciated and copied in Japan, where they were known as tenmoku wares.

File:Bol Dynastie Song Musée Guimet 2418.jpg

White Glazed Ding Ware Bowl with Incised Design Northern Song Dynasty (11th-12th Century); Porcelain, Musée Guimet 2418

Ding ware

Main article: Ding ware

Ding (Wade-GilesTing) ware was produced in Ding Xian (modern Chu-yang), Hebei Province, slightly south-west of Beijing. Already in production when the Song emperors came to power in 940, Dingware was the finest porcelain produced in northern China at the time, and was the first to enter the palace for official imperial use. Its paste is white, generally covered with an almost transparent glaze that dripped and collected in “tears,” (though some Ding ware was glazed a monochrome black or brown, white was the much more common type). Overall, the Ding aesthetic relied more on its elegant shape than ostentatious decoration; designs were understated, either incised or stamped into the clay prior to glazing. Due to the way the dishes were stacked in the kiln, the edged remained unglazed, and had to be rimmed in metal such as gold or silver when used as tableware. Some hundred years later, a Southern Song era writer commented that it was this defect that led to its demise as favoured imperial ware. Since the Song court lost access to these northern kilns when they fled south, it has been argued that Qingbai ware (see below) was viewed as a replacement for Ding.

Although not as highly ranked as Ru ware, the late Ming connoisseur Gao Lian awards Ding ware a brief mention in his volume Eight Discourses on the Art of Living. Classified under his sixth discourse, the section on “pure enjoyment of cultured idleness,” Master Gao says:

File:Ru Ware.JPG

Ru Ware Bowl Stand, Chinese, Early 12th Century; Buff stoneware, with crackled light bluish green glaze, and a copper edge; LondonVictoria and Albert Museum, FE.1-1970

Ru ware

Like Ding ware, Ru (Wade-Giles: ju) was produced in North China for imperial use. The Ru kilns were near the Northern Song capital at Kaifeng. In similar fashion to Longquan celadons, Ru pieces have small amounts of iron in their glaze that oxidize and turn greenish when fired in a reducing atmosphere. Ru wares range in colour—from nearly white to a deep robin’s egg—and often are covered with reddish-brown crackles. The crackles, or “crazing,” are caused when the glaze cools and contracts faster than the body, thus having to stretch and ultimately to split, (as seen in the detail at right; see also . The art historian James Watt comments that the Song dynasty was the first period that viewed crazing as a merit rather than a defect. Moreover, as time went on, the bodies got thinner and thinner, while glazes got thicker, until by the end of the Southern Song the ‘green-glaze’ was thicker than the body, making it extremely ‘fleshy’ rather than ‘bony,’ to use the traditional analogy (see section on Guan ware, below). Too, the glaze tends to drip and pool slightly, leaving it thinner at the top, where the clay peeps through.

File:RuWare-V&AFE.1-1970Det.jpg

Ru Ware Bowl Stand, detail of crazing; V&A FE.1-1970

As with Ding ware, the Song imperial court lost access to the Ru kilns after it fled Kaifeng when theJin invaded, and settled at Lin’an in Hangzhou, towards the south. There the Emperor Gaozongfounded the Guan yao (‘official kilns’) right outside the new capital in order to produce imitations of Ru ware. However, posterity has remembered Ru ware as something unmatched by later attempts; Master Gao says, “Compared with Guan yao, the above were of finer substance and more brilliant luster.

File:Bulb bowl Asian Art Museum SF B60P93.JPG

Bulb Bowl with Scalloped Rim, Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127); Stoneware; Asian Art MuseumSan Francisco, B60P93

Jun ware

Main article: Jun ware

Jun (Wade-Giles: chün) ware was a third style of porcelain used at the Northern Song court. Characterized by a thicker body than Ding or Ru ware, Jun is covered with a turquoise and purple glaze, so thick and viscous looking that it almost seems to be melting off its substantial golden-brown body. Not only are Jun vessels more thickly potted, their shape is much more robust than the fine Jun pieces, yet both types were appreciated at court of Emperor Huizong. Jun production was centered at Jun-tai in Yüzhou city, Henan Province.

Guan ware

Guan (Wade-Giles: kuan) ware, literally means “official” ware; so certain Ru, Jun, and even Ding could be considered Guan in the broad sense of being produced for the court. Strictly speaking, however, the term only applies to that produced by an official, imperially-run kiln, which did not start until the Southern Song fled the advancing Jin and settled at Lin’an. It was during this period that walls become so thin and glaze so thick that the latter superseded the former in breadth. As the clay in the foothills around Lin’an, was a brownish colour, and the glaze so viscus, ‘’Guan’’ ware became known for its “brown mouth” (sometimes translated as “purple”), indicating the top rim or a vessel where the glaze is thinner and the body shows through. Guan ceramics have been much admired over the years, and very subject to copy. Indeed Gao Lain spends the greatest part of his commentary on describing Guan and its partner Ge ware (See below: though similar to Ge ware, Guan tends to have a bluer finish and a more translucent glaze), as though that were the most troublesome, least easily identified type of pottery.

Ge ware

Ge (Wade-Giles: ko), literally means ‘big-brother’ ware, because legend has it that of two brothers working in Longquan, one made the typicalceladon style ceramics, but the elder made ge ware, produced in his private kiln. Ming commentator, Gao Lian claims that the ge kiln took its clay from the same site as Guan ware, which is what accounts for the difficulty in distinguishing one from the other (though Gao thinks “Ge is distinctly inferior” to Guan). Overall, Ge remains somewhat elusive, but basically comprises two types—one with a ‘warm rice-yellow glaze and two sets of crackles, a more prominent set of darker colour interspersed with a finer set of reddish lines (called chin-ssu t’ieh-hsien or ‘golden floss and iron threads’, which can just faintly be detected on this bowl: . The other Ge ware is much like Guan ware, with grayish glaze and one set of crackles. Once thought to have only been manufactured alongside Longquan celadon, per its legendary founding, Ge is now believed to have also been produced at Jingdezhen.

While similar to Guan ware, Ge typically has a grayish-blue glaze that is fully opaque with an almost matte finish (as seen on this bottle in the Asian Art Museum . Its crackle pattern is exaggerated, often standing out in bold black. Though still shrouded in mystery, many specialists believe that Ge ware did not develop until the very late Southern Song or even the Yuan. In any case, enthusiasm for it persisted throughout the Ming; Wen Zhenheng preferred it to all other types of porcelain, in particular for brush washers and water droppers (although he preferred jade brush washers to porcelain, Guan and Ge were the best ceramic ones, especially if they have scalloped rims). Differences between later Ming imitations of Song/Yuan Ge include: Ming versions substitute a white porcelain body; they tend to be produced in a range of new shapes, for example those for the scholar’s studio; glazes tend to be thinner and more lustrous; and slip is applied to the rim and base to simulate the “brown mouth and iron foot” of Guan ware.

Qingbai wares

 

Song Dynasty qingbai bowl

Qingbai wares (also called ‘yingqing’) were made at Jingdezhen and at many other southern kilns from the time of the Northern Song Dynasty until they were eclipsed in the 14th century by underglaze-decorated blue and white wares. Qingbai in Chinese literally means “clear blue-white”. The qingbai glaze is a porcelain glaze, so-called because it was made using pottery stone. The qingbai glaze is clear, but contains iron in small amounts. When applied over a white porcelain body the glaze produces a greenish-blue colour that gives the glaze its name. Some have incised or moulded decorations.

The Song dynasty qingbai bowl illustrated was likely made at the Jingdezhen village of Hutian, which was also the site of the Imperial kilns established in 1004. The bowl has incised decoration, possibly representing clouds or the reflection of clouds in the water. The body is white, translucent and has the texture of very-fine sugar, indicating that it was made using crushed and refined pottery stone instead of pottery stone and kaolin. The glaze and the body of the bowl would have been fired together, in asaggar, possibly in a large wood-burning dragon-kiln or climbing-kiln, typical of southern kilns in the period.

Though many Song and Yuan qingbai bowls were fired upside down in special segmented saggars, a technique first developed at the Dingkilns in Hebei province. The rims of such wares were left unglazed but were often bound with bands of silvercopper or lead.

One remarkable example of qingbai porcelain is the so-called Fonthill Vase, described in a guide for Fonthill Abbey published in 1823
Blue and white wares
The vase was made at Jingdezhen, probably around 1300 and was sent as a present to Pope Benedict XII by one of the last Yuan emperorsof China, in 1338. The mounts referred to in the 1823 description were of enamelled silver-gilt and were added to the vase in Europe in 1381. An 18th century water colour of the vase complete with its mounts exists, but the mounts themselves were removed and lost in the 19th century. The vase is now in the National Museum of Ireland. It is often held that qingbai wares were not subject to the higher standards and regulations of the other porcelain wares, since they were made for everyday use. They were mass-produced, and received little attention from scholars and antiquarians. The Fonthill Vase, given by a Chinese emperor to a pope, might appear to cast at least some doubt on this view.

 

Kangxi period (1662 to 1722) blue and white porcelain tea caddy

Following in the tradition of earlier qingbai porcelains, blue and white wares are glazed using a transparent porcelain glaze. The blue decoration is painted onto the body of the porcelain before glazing, using very finely ground cobalt oxide mixed with water. After the decoration has been applied the pieces are glazed and fired.

It is believed that underglaze blue and white porcelain was first made in the Tang Dynasty. Only three complete pieces of Tang blue and white porcelain are known to exist (in Singapore from Indonesian Belitung shipwreck ), but shards dating to the 8th or 9th century have been unearthed at Yangzhou in the Jiangsu province. It has been suggested that the shards originated from a kiln in the province ofHenan. In 1957, excavations at the site of a pagoda in the province Zhejiang uncovered a Northern Song bowl decorated with underglaze blue and further fragments have since been discovered at the same site. In 1970, a small fragment of a blue and white bowl, again dated to the 11th century, was also excavated in the province of Zhejiang.

In 1975, shards decorated with underglaze blue were excavated at a kiln site in Jiangxi and, in the same year, an underglaze blue and white urn was excavated from a tomb dated to 1319, in the province of Jiangsu. It is of interest to note that a Yuan funerary urn decorated with underglaze blue and underglaze red and dated 1338 is still in the Chinese taste, even though by this time the large-scale production of blue and white porcelain in the YuanMongol taste had started its influence at Jingdezhen.

Starting early in the 14th century, blue and white porcelain rapidly became the main product of Jingdezhen, reaching the height of its technical excellence during the later years of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor[37] and continuing in present times to be an important product of the city.

The tea caddy illustrated shows many of the characteristics of blue and white porcelain produced during the Kangxi period. The translucent body showing through the clear glaze is of great whiteness and the cobalt decoration, applied in many layers, has a fine blue hue. The decoration, a sage in a landscape of lakes and mountains with blazed rocks is typical of the period. The piece would have been fired in asaggar (a lidded ceramic box intended to protect the piece from kiln debris, smoke and cinders during firing) in a reducing atmosphere in a wood-burning egg-shaped kiln, at a temperature approaching 1350 °C.

Distinctive blue-and-white porcelain was exported to Japan where it is known as Tenkei blue-and-white ware or ko sometsukei. This ware is thought to have been especially ordered by tea masters for Japanese ceremony.

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Statue of Guan Yin, Ming Dynasty (Shanghai Museum)

Blanc de Chine

Main article: Blanc de Chine

Blanc de Chine is a type of white porcelain made at Dehua in the Fujian province. It has been produced from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) to the present day. Large quantities arrived inEurope as Chinese Export Porcelain in the early 18th century and it was copied at Meissen and elsewhere.

The area along the Fujian coast was traditionally one of the main ceramic exporting centers. Over one-hundred and eighty kiln sites have been identified extending in historical range from the Song period to present.

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Tripod Early 17th century, Nantoyōsō Collection, Japan

From the Ming period porcelain objects were manufactured that achieved a fusion of glaze and body traditionally referred to as “ivory white” and “milk white.” The special characteristic of Dehua porcelain is the very small amount of iron oxide in it, allowing it to be fired in an oxidising atmosphere to a warm white or pale ivory colour. (Wood, 2007)

The porcelain body is not very plastic but vessel forms have been made from it. Donnelly, (1969, pp.xi-xii) lists the following types of product: figures, boxes, vases and jars, cups and bowls, fishes, lamps, cup-stands, censers and flowerpots, animals, brush holders, wine and teapots, Buddhist and Taoist figures, secular figures and puppets. There was a large output of figures, especially religious figures, e.g. GuanyinMaitreya,Lohan and Ta-mo figures.

The numerous Dehua porcelain factories today make figures and tableware in modern styles. During the Cultural Revolution ”Dehua artisans applied their very best skills to produce immaculate statuettes of the Great Leader and the heroes of the revolution. Portraits of the stars of the new proletarian opera in their most famous roles were produced on a truly massive scale.” Mao Zedong figures later fell out of favour but have been revived for foreign collectors.

Notable artists in blanc de Chine, such as the late Ming period He Chaozong, signed their creations with their seals. Wares include crisply modeled figures, cups, bowls and joss stick-holders.

Many of the best examples of blanc de Chine are found in Japan where the white variety was termed hakugorai or “Korean white”, a term often found in tea ceremony circles. The British Museum in London has a large number of blanc de Chine pieces, having received as a gift in 1980 the entire collection of P.J.Donnelly.

Classification by colour, Famille

Commonly used French terms for ‘families’, or palettes of enamel colours used on Chinese porcelain. Famille jaune, noire, rose, verte are terms used to classify Chinese porcelain by its colour palette.

Famille verte

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Saint-Cloud soft porcelain spitting bowl,“Famille verte”, 1730-1740

Famille verte (康熙五彩, Kangxi wucai, also 素三彩, Susancai), adopted in the Kangxi (1662–1722), uses green and iron red with other overglaze colours. It developed from the Wucai (五彩, “Five colors”) style.

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    • Wusai vase, Shunzhiperiod, circa 1650-1660

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    • Wucai plate for exportation,Kangxi period, circa 1680

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  • Wucai plate for exportation,Kangxi period, circa 1680

]Famille jaune

Famille jaune is a variation using famille verte enamels on a yellow ground.

Famille noire

Famille noire (Chinese: 黑地素三彩, Modi susancai) uses a black ground (although some clobbered wares had the black added in the 19th century).

Famille rose

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Delftware plate, faience, Famille Rose, 1760-1780

Famille rose (known in Chinese as Fencai (粉彩) or Ruancai (軟彩, simplified 软彩), meaning ‘soft colours’, and later as Yangcai (洋彩), meaning ‘foreign colours’) was introduced during the reign ofKangxi (1654–1722), possibly around 1720. It used mainly pink or purple and remained popular throughout the 18th and the 19th centuries.

Famille rose enamel ware allows a greater range of colour and tone than was previously possible, enabling the depiction of more complex images, including flowers, figures and insects.

It is made by drawing a sketch on the shaped clay, which is then covered with ‘glassy white’ (bo li bai), an opaque white enamel (lead arsenate), and painted in detail with the mixture of pigment and oil, before firing.

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Qing period Chinese export porcelain with European figure, Famille Rose, first half of 18th century

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Jingdezhen soft paste porcelain flower holder, “Famille Rose”, 1736-1796, Qianlong period

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Saint-Cloud soft paste porcelain flower holder, “Famille Rose”, 1730-1740

Stoneware

Yixing ware

Early pots were designed for travel use hence you will see the simple classical look of the pots produced during the Ming Dynasty. [40] Most tea drinking enthusiast will have one teapot for travel use, these tend to be less expensive and compact in design. It was not until during the mid-Qing Dynasty (18th century) that tea connoisseurs started to use the pot at home and the artisan begin to form them into different shape and sizes. Many exotic forms were conceived. Vessels were decorated with poetic inscriptions, calligraphy, paintings and seals were incised onto the surface of the teapots.

The term “yixing clay” is often used as an umbrella term to describe several distinct types of clay used to make stoneware:

  • Zisha or Zini (紫砂 or 紫泥 ; literally, “purple sand/clay”): this stoneware has a purple-red-brown color.
  • Zhusha or Zhuni (朱砂 or 朱泥; literally, “cinnabar sand/clay”): reddish brown stoneware with a very high iron content. The name only refers to the sometimes bright red hue of cinnabar (朱砂; pinyin: zhūshā). Due to the increasing demand for Yixing stoneware, zhuni is now in very limited quantities. Zhuni clay is not to be confused with hongni (红泥, literally, “red clay”, another red clay.
  • Duanni (鍛泥; literally, “fortifed clay”): stoneware that was formulated using various stones and minerals in addition to zini or zhuni clay. This results in various textures and colours, ranging from beige, blue, and green (绿泥), to black.

Fakes and reproductions

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Kangxi reign mark on a piece of late nineteenth century blue and white porcelain.

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Italian pottery of the mid-15th century shows heavy influences from Chinese ceramics. A Sancai (“Three colors”) plate (left), and a Ming-type blue-and-white vase (right), made in Northern Italy, mid-15th century. Musée du Louvre.

Chinese potters have a long tradition of borrowing design and decorative features from earlier wares. Whilst ceramics with features thus borrowed might sometimes pose problems of provenance, they would not generally be regarded as either reproductions or fakes. However, fakes and reproductions have also been made at many times during the long history of Chinese ceramics and continue to be made today in ever-increasing numbers.

  • Reproductions of Song dynasty Longquan celadon wares were made at Jingdezhen in the early 18th century, but outright fakes were also made using special clay that were artificially aged by boiling in meat broth, refiring and storage in sewers. Père d’Entrecolles records that by this means the wares could be passed off as being hundreds of years old.
  • At Jingdezhen, the two remaining wood fired, egg-shaped kilns produce convincing reproductions of earlier wares. At Zhejiang province good reproductions of Song Longquan celedon wares continue to be made in large, side-stoked dragon kilns.
  • Before World War II, the English potter Bernard Leach found what he took to be genuine Song dynasty cizhou rice-bowls being sold for very little money on the dock of a Chinese port and was surprised to learn that they were in fact newly made.
  • In the late 19th century, fakes of Kangxi period famille noire wares were made that were convincing enough to deceive the experts of the day. Many such pieces may still be seen in museums today, as may pieces of genuine Kangxi porcelain decorated in the late nineteenth century with famille noire enamels. A body of modern expert opinion holds that porcelain decorated with famille noire enamels was not made at all during the Kangxi period, though this view is disputed.
  • A fashion for Kangxi period (1662 to 1722) blue and white wares grew to large proportions in Europe during the later years of the 19th century and triggered the production at Jingdezhen of large quantities of porcelain wares that strike a resemblance to ceramics of earlier periods. Such blue and white wares were not fakes or even convincing reproductions, even though some pieces carried four-character Kangxi reign-marks that continue to cause confusion to this day. Kangxi reign-marks in the form shown in the illustration occur only on wares made towards the end of the 19th century or later, without exception.

Authentication

The most widely-known test is the thermoluminescence test, or TL test, which is used on some types of ceramic to estimate, roughly, the date of last firing. The TL test is carried out on small samples of porcelain drilled or cut from the body of a piece, which can be risky and disfiguring. For this reason, the test is rarely used for dating finely-potted, high-fired ceramics. TL testing cannot be used at all on some types of porcelain items, particularly high-fired porcelain.

Gallery

Early wares

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Water jar from the Neolithic period, Yangshao culture (ca. 5000 – 3000 BC)

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Painted jar of the Majiayao culture, Late Neolithic period (3300 – 2200 BC)

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Painted pot with frog motifs,Majiayao culture (2200 – 2000 BC)

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Painted pot of Majiayao culture(2200 – 2000 BC)

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Black pottery goblet of the Late Neolithic period from theLongshan culture, dated (ca. 2500 – 2000 BC)

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Large grey mug, Henan Longshan culture, Late Neolithic period (ca. 2500 – 2000 BC)

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White pottery pitcher from theShandong Longshan culture, 2500–2000 BC

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White pottery pot with geometric design, Shang dynasty (1600-1100 BC)

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Earthenware vase, Eastern Zhou, 4th-3rd century BC,British Museum

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A pottery bell from the Warring States Period (403–221 BC)

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A painted pottery dou vessel with a dragon design from theWarring States Period (403-221 BC)

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Soldiers from the Terracotta Army, interred by 210 BC, Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC)

Han (202 BC to 220 AD)

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Ceramic sculptures withpolychrome, from the 2nd century BC, Han Dynasty.

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An earthenware goose pourer with lacquerware paint designs, Western Han, late 3rd century BC to early 1st century AD

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A painted earthenware tripod, Western Han Dynasty, late 3rd century BC to early 1st century AD

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A Han celadon pot with mountain-shaped lid and animal designs

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Two Western Han Dynastyterracotta vases with acrobats

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Ceramic tomb statuette of a cavalryman and horse, Western Han Dynasty

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A Han Dynasty pottery tomb model of residential towers joined by a bridge

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A Han Dynasty pottery tomb model of a palatial residence

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A Han pottery face of a laughing woman

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A footed Western-Han white ceramic wine warmer with animal-head figurines decorating its lid

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A Western Han glazed potteryding with taotie-faced door knocker designs

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An Eastern Han ceramiccandle-holder with animal figurines

Three Kingdoms, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, Sui (220 to 618)

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celadon ceramic candleholder in the shape of a crouched lionThree Kingdoms (220–265), made in Eastern Wu

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celadon hunping jar with sculpted designs of architecture, from the Jin Dynasty (265-420)

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A black-glazed wine or water jug with a rooster-headed spout, Jin Dynasty (265-420)

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A footed earthenware lamp with lions, from either theNorthern dynasties or Sui Dynasty, 6th century

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Covered footed earthenware vessel from the Northern Qi(550–577)

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Northern Dynasties lotusvessel

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Western Wei (536–556) ceramic figurine of a military officer

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A ceramic cavalryman with a horn, Northern Wei (386–534)

Tang (618 to 906 AD)

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Sancai-horse and figurine, Tang Dynasty

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A sancai glazed pottery horse from the 7th-8th century

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An earthenware jar with green and yellow glaze, first half of 8th century

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A Western on a Bactrian Camel, a sancai glazed figurine from the Tang Dynasty

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A rounded ceramic plate with “three colors” glaze and floral design, 8th-9th century

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A rounded ceramic plate with “three colors” glaze, 8th century

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A ceramic offering plate with “three colors” glaze, decorated with a bird and trees, 8th century

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A ceramic offering plate with six eaves and “three colors” glaze, 8th century

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Tang Dynasty sancai grazedluohan (arhat) figure

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The Statue of Heavenly Guardian, Polychrome glazed pottery, Tang Dynasty.

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Tang female musicians on horseback

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A Tang sancai-glazed tomb guardian, 8th century

Song (960 to 1279 AD)

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Chinese tea bowls made ofstonewareSong Dynasty, 12th to 13th century

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Funerary vase and cover, green-glazed stoneware, Northern Song (960–1127)

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A porcelain teapot in Qingbai Style, from Jingdezhen

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Longquan celadon vase from the Song Dynasty

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celadon bowl, 10th-11th century

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Longquan celadon wares, 13th century

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A Qingbai ware box with flower medallions

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Ding Ware Bottle with iron pigment over transparent colourless glaze, 11th century; Freer Gallery, F1959.6.

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Northern Song Dynasty white-glazed baby boy pillow

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Southern Song Dynastyceladon vase with dish shaped mouth, LongquanWare

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A glazed stoneware pillow from the Song Dynasty

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A Song-era amphora with dragon handles

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Porcelain pillow Jin Dynasty (1115–1234)

Yuan (1279 to 1368 AD)

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celadon shoulder pot from the late Yuan Dynasty, displaying artwork of peaches, lotuses, peonies, willows, and palms

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Qingbai porcelain vase, 14th century

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Jin or Yuan dynastystoneware dish, 13th-14th century

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Longquan celadon, 13th-14th century

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Longquan celadon bowl with a dragon

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Celadon dish with a flower design

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A covered jar made ofLongquan celadon, 14th century

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Jun ware bowl

Ming (1368 to 1644 AD)

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A Ming Dynasty blue-and-white porcelain dish with depiction of a dragon

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Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) with children, statuette made of Dehua porcelain ware

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A Ming Dynasty porcelain bowl with flower designs

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Ming presentation porcelain,Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Fifteenth century

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Porcelain plate from 1634, during the Chongzhen Emperor (1627–1644)

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Porcelain vase from the reign of the Jiajing Emperor (1521–1567)

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A Ming glazed earthenware statue of a seated Buddha

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Ming Dynasty Yongle reignmonk‘s cap white pitcher

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Yongle reign red plate

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Chrysanthemum styled porcelain vase with three colours

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Jiajing covered jar with green dragon and cloud design

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Wanli reign covered jar in green

Qing (1644 to 1912 AD)

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Kangxi transitional porcelain, 1644-1680

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Kangxi transitional porcelain, 1644-1680

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Porcelain plate from the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1661–1722)

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A porcelain bowl with a scene of two boys playing in a courtyard, from the reign of theYongzheng Emperor (1722–1735)

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Porcelain vase from the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1661–1722)

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Copper-red porcelain from the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (1722–1735)

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European man on horseback, porcelain, first half of 18th century

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Porcelain from the reign of theQianlong Emperor (1735–1796)

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Porcelain plate from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor(1735–1796)

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Four ritual porcelain water vessels with elephant-trunk spouts, from the reign of theQianlong Emperor (1735–1796)

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An 18th-century Qing porcelainmeiping (梅瓶; plum vase)

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White porcelain from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor(1735–1796)

Republic and People’s Republic (1912, to date)

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Decorating porcelain at modern-day Jingdezhen.

 

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