Chinese Porcelain Vase (10 Questions Answered!)

Deriving from the Latin, ‘vase’ primarily implies a kind of round, curved container, used for holding or displaying fresh, dried, or artificial cut flowers or for decorative purposes. It’s of greater depth than the width and is usually made of glass, porcelain, or metal.
Ming Dynasty Vase
So what makes them extraordinary? Flowers, of course! Any fanciful human would agree with the fact that a vase is never lucrative without some nice, fresh, and pretty flowers in it. Although, the scenario takes a u-turn for those who are rather enthusiastic about classic items from the old days.
Egyptians are considered as the trailblazers of the vase industry, which was developed by the Greeks and Romans in around 500 BC.
Then came the Tang dynasty of China in the 7th-9th century BC, supplying their neighbors with fine, pellucid pottery. The ancient city of Changan (Jingdezhen) was known as the “pottery capital” as the natural resources were so much available there to create smooth and shining earthenware.
Moreover, the contrasting geological diversities between the northern and southern sides of China assured that the ceramic products developing in those two territories differed extensively in color, material, design, and texture.
Today we are going to explore certain fascinating intricacies about Chinese vases. Let’s get started with answering some common questions.

What is a Chinese vase called?

Vases that are specifically made in China are known as Chinese vases. These are also known as Chinese ceramics or Chinese pottery.
The main elements of the Chinese vases are stoneware, earthenware, and mostly porcelain.

What is special about Chinese Vases?

Chinese vases are porcelain-made objects that last for a very long time, more than a thousand years! With the perfect proportions of kaolin, quartz, feldspar, genuine Chinese vases are extremely durable and translucent materials.
Chinese porcelain was first made and used during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) which remained to be one of the important elements of national art till the last imperial Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
The raw materials used in these vases are inexpensive and readily accessible. These are popularly known as China in the western world. All thanks to the Silk Road routes, this magnificent making was introduced to the western world pretty quickly.
As they are porcelain made, if kept well, one piece can last for over 1,000 years! But you need to check its authenticity carefully.
Another notable thing is that it takes difficult procedures to produce a porcelain vase from the primary assembling of the raw materials, crushing, wiping, and mixing them, forming the intended shape, bisque-firing, glazing, and ultimate firing that gives a nice finishing.
Because of its highest status in the industry, there was a time when only the imperial family could buy these things before anyone, unlike today’s age.
Moreover, the antique vases have their marks on the bodies that indicate the potter’s brand, the dynasty, and the emperor’s reign which makes a buyer nostalgic and interested in these invaluable art pieces.

Are Chinese vases worth anything?

Chinese vases can be very valuable and can be worth millions depending on their age, timeline, maker, palette, pattern, shape, etc.
For knowing its real worth one needs to contact the Chinese Antique Valuation Service which doesn’t involve any risk.
Even hearing the name of a certain dynasty vase, the mass public usually thinks of something worth millions whereas it might be around $100 only. But if it’s from the genuine imperial Ming, it will come with a very hefty price.

How can you tell if a Chinese Vase is real?

At times it can come out as a very difficult task, and it takes a lot of practice and deep observation.
You need to learn to examine the piece for its colors, shapes, materials, the artwork and it’s needed to look at a lot of examples to compare. There is resilience, remarkable artistry in the real Chinese vases.
A real vase will have fewer contaminations in the clay. Porcelain gets tempered with a melted, glass-like exterior, after firing before coatings are applied.
While checking, if you can detect a place with little to no glaze, you need to understand the hardness of clay. It should have translucent and mirror-like traits.

How to identify antique Chinese vases?

Right now, 90% of all the Chinese art antiques listed on eBay are brand new copies or fakes and reproductions which come from the local market of China and now they are all over the place, well stocked with literally millions of pieces and shipped to different countries.
To determine whether a piece of the vase is an authentic antique or a brand new fake, you need to give attention to its particular traits.
The first thing you have to take a look at is one of the most common tricks being used by forgers in China. They apply a brown wash or paint at the bottom part of a vase to give the brownish appearance of a genuine one that is of hundred years old.
If one looks closely they’ll find that the stain has almost spilled over onto the glaze around the painted areas. To be certain, it’s not some kind of dart rather than an applied stain, you can try to wipe it off with a damp cloth and if it’s a dart, it’ll go away instantly.
On the contrary, an authentic one will not be like this. If it has accumulated any dirt or grime, it will get cleaned, revealing the white paste underneath.
Another thing is the imperial mark that’s printed on the bottom. It can be copied too. Notice the difference between the way the mark is done. The color, the way the foot is trimmed. Copied ones are done tentatively, the strokes are implausible. The color is off, either too blue or the wrong color.
In terms of design, real pieces are sort of curvy, not stiff, nicely outlined and artistically drawn, don’t lack warmth, and not too stylized.

How to tell if a Chinese vase is valuable?

Trash or treasure, that’s the main thing folks need to know when they decide to clear stuff or sell them.
The market for original Chinese vases is so strong now. You need to check out the piece thoroughly to make sure it’s not some copied product.
Look for the detailed mark on the body or the bottom. See if it has a Chinese-looking or pictorial mark.
Another noteworthy matter is the RADAR that means Rarity, Aesthetics, Desirability, Authenticity, and Really great condition. When you own a vase that meets these five basic standards, perhaps you’ve found an item that’s appreciable in its value.

How to tell if my vase is Chinese or Japanese?

For modern-day collectors, it is important to be able to distinguish between the traits of both nations’ art pieces. As they would very much require it for the sake of securing accurate purchasing and exhibition.
Scrutinizing the rims and borders of the piece is one of the prominent ways to distinguish whether your vase has a Chinese or Japanese origin.
In the Chinese model, the border is adorned in the colorful Ruyi fashion which is one inch in width. On the other hand, Japanese ones don’t have elaborate borders, rather feature a slender, round structure that is crimson brown, green, or blue.
Another striking dissimilarity can be explored by a closer inspection of the interior. While the Chinese style texture is absolutely slick, the Japanese design vouches for a texture like that of an orange peel. In terms of color, the Chinese ones are cobalt blue, the Japanese being dark yellow, navy blue, gray, or green.
Moreover, potteries from both Japan and China have their markings by the craftsmen or the distributors. It is known that there are over 1,500 notable marks used for Chinese porcelain alone, certain traits of which can ensure the art piece’s country of origin.
Generally, Chinese marks have an even number of characters about the same size while Japanese ones are irregular with odd numbers consisting of diverse sizes and colors.

Why are Chinese vases blue and white?

Ming Dynasty Vase
Blue color earned unique importance in the history of Chinese pottery during the Tang and Song dynasty (609 – 1279). Although its mechanism didn’t flourish until the Yuan era (1279 -1368).
During the Ming era, blue and white potteries achieved their vast acceptance while reaching their peak in the reign of the Qing dynasty (1661-1772).
The particular color shed in blue-glazed pottery or vase derives from cobalt ores imported from then Persia. It was a sparse element back then and used in only small quantities.
The Yuan Dynasty, the first foreign-led lineage, was a significant era for the Chinese. At that time the ferocious Mongolians seized an unparalleled territory and bought their ethnic culture, the reason behind the preference for the color white.
Islamic culture had an upright influence on the Mongolians. As the blue color epitomizes “the treasure in the desert”- it was a significant color for the Muslims. Part of the reason why the Yuan Dynasty transferred its focal point to blue and white porcelain.
Blue and white porcelain have a great impact on Chinese aesthetics with these being used in many products.

Why are Chinese vases so expensive?

Over the last century, the price of Chinese vases has turned out pretty expensive due to their thousand-year-old history, authenticity, artistry, durability.
According to experts, the determination of an expensive thing lies in the market for that type of piece, its condition, and its provenance. All these elements together make its price hefty.

FIVE Expensive Vases and why are they expensive?

At this point, I’m going to review some of the expensive vases in the world and let you know why they hold so much value.

Qing Dynasty Vase:

Qing Dynasty Vase
Tinted and adorned with sky blue and royal yellow, depicting spring fish, this one is of the prized vases from the Chinese legacy. It is 16″ long, while the exterior has an impression of absolute royalty and purity.
The Qing dynasty’s fifth ruler Qianlong ruled China in the 18th century, and it was made for him between 1736 -1795.
First found out by a woman while cleaning her late sister’s suburban home in Pinner, London, this exceptional and most expensive vase was left unobserved for years. It made a record of being sold at $83 million.

Ming Dynasty Vase:

Ming dynasty vases date from the 15th century. One such Ming imperial vase was sold at $22.6 million by Sotheby’s auction house in Hong Kong to an unidentified telephone bidder.
At the reign of Xuande, cobalt was improved, a fine magnetic element that gives Ming vases delightful sapphire shades.
The price went up for almost twice its least estimated rate. Due to its artistic texture, these days, collectors, researchers try to possess it.

Christie’s Ming Vase:

Inscribed with red curling flowers, in 2006 this 600-year-old rare, magnificent vase was sold for over $10 million in an auction of Christie’s in Hong Kong.
It was procured by a famous Las Vegas casino resort developer Steve Wynn for donation purposes to a public museum in Macau.
This vase was not so pricey back in 1984. At that time it was around $5 million. The auction made its position in the top list of expensive vases.

The Jade Vase:

As a primary solid rock of Chinese sculpture, Jade vases are quite popular and can be found in different colors among which green and vivid jade is very lucrative.
The watery, pale celadon-colored Jade vase, which is 42 cm in height, was curved and made between 1730 and 1795. Belonging to the Qianlong dynasty, it retrieved over $8million at Menards auction In Vancouver, Canada.

Dragon and Lotus:

Coming with a hefty price of $3 million, this vase is an enormous, unique blue-white porcelain vase.
It is dated from the period of 1700 when the Qing was in charge of China. The portrayal of the sumptuous ancientness is the reason behind the interesting name. Until its auction, it was possessed by the last royal Chinese family.
Final Thoughts:
Though in ancient times vases were generally used as containers or storage for water, oil, or wine, in the present age, be it an average house or a lavish one, you are more likely to find a vase at the corner of a house as it is considered as an ornamental piece to give an extra nice look.
At the very beginning, we talked about how flowers are inevitable for vases, but one can’t deny the fact that antique ones stand alone even without flowers for their outstanding look and value.
Affluent vase lovers are always ready to spend millions to possess one such vase. Here some important and common facts are brought into the light to mollify your eagerness about expensive Chinese vases.
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