The Gotheborg.com help and information page is possible the largest Antique Chinese and Japanese porcelain collector's website on the internet.
It consists of two major parts. One public part, with around 1,000 pages of information on antique Chinese and Japanese porcelain, written over a period of more then ten years including a section with translated and dated Japanese and Chinese porcelain marks, a glossary of porcelain terms, a section of Chinese porcelain history, Chinese travelogues, Question & Answer pages, etc. The second part is a Discussion Board which by comparison dwarfs the public part, with about 10 times more information, with about 200,000 pictures and messages in about 10,000 discussion threads, about various Chinese and Japanese antique ceramic pieces.
The public part with its marks section, glossary, stories, questions & answers pages, porcelain history and book recommendations etc is accessible for free.
To access and participate in the Discussion Board you need to be a member. More info here at the Membership Page
For personal consultation about only one or a few pieces, you can submit Quick email consultation request
Yes. Use the quick consultation form at Quick email consultation request" page.
Yes, you can send email questions directly to me via the Ask A Question page, or you can become a full member of the Gotheborg Discussion Board. More info here at the Membership Page.
You will eventually understand that the only thing you will ever get from an expert, is an opinion. Some might be more well-founded than other, but if you have found something you like, and someone proclaims it a "fake", you need to keep it anyway until you fully know for yourself what you got, and understand why someone calls it a "fake". To a collector anything is a learning opportunity. Serious collectors of difficult pieces keep track of all opinions they get about their pieces. To read these catalog cards can be quite entertaining and is an interesting part of any collection. It is a mistake to give up too early on things you don't fully understand.
Any expert is only as good as the number of genuine pieces he have got. Mostly this is long time studies combined with lots of hands-on experience. Ideally you need to have handled the same type of items for years. This is also why it is questionable if it is good or bad to handle too many fakes. You might get used to the wrong things.
Basically this is because every period has its particular aesthetics and technology. The periods differ in their ways of looking at things and how this technically and artistically was interpreted into ways, shapes and forms that persons of the period could identify with and appreciate. Any piece is 'wrong' if it does not follow the aesthetics of the period.
To know the shapes, colors and decorations common to a period and the rhythm in which these harmonized with each other, that usually gives the best clues we can have to discriminate the period and the true from the false. If you then also understand the available technology of the time, and how things was done at different periods, that is even better. Still, to only look at technicalities and not the 'art' aspects can be very misleading.
I am bound to say that I don't know anything about porcelain. Where did you got that idea? The field is a long time interest of mine though and I have been intrigued by Asian porcelain since childhood.
Eventually I got to study Arts History at the University of Gothenburg. I then had the great fortune to get to know Professor Bo Gyllensvärd, founder and former head of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm who was very patient with me over the years.
During the first part of the East Indiaman Gothenburg ship replica project which I for several years took a part in, I was head of research and one of the three members of the Consultative Board of Science as expert on the 18th century Swedish East India company trade.
Professionally I succeeded on his recommendation, Professor Gyllensvärds position as a consultative appraiser of Oriental Pottery and Porcelain to one of the larger auction houses in Sweden.
As a curio I enjoy remembering is that I during one summer now long ago was asked to officially stand-in at one time, for Professor of Oriental Art; Bo Gyllensvärd, introducing a Museum exhibition of Chinese porcelain in Malmoe, and at another occasion, for the Professor of History; Jörgen Weibull, giving a lecture on the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) and its trade, in Helsingborg. Theirs were very large shoes to step into and great inspirational personalities. They are both now gone and dearly missed. Through this site, I am trying to some extent to carry on their legacy in scholarly generosity and helpfulness.
A most valuable experience was also to spend a number of weeks in Jingdezhen, enjoying the guidance and hospitality of the Jingdezhen Archaeological Institute during a few weeks in 1991 and 1992 together with Professor Bo Gyllensvärd and two collecting friends I really admire for their dedication and integrity - Jarl Vansvik and Erik Engel. It wasn't conclusive in any way but it was good to study and handle a significant number of excavated genuine items of very rare Ming porcelains and get to understand what the porcelain capital of China looked like in reality, and to get a first hand experience of the geography and the setting of many old kilns.
Yes. Contact me for any need or suggestion you might have.
Buy from folks you know and folks you trust and build a relationship with them. Then, you can settle all questions that might occur in the future on friendly terms and maybe even get help when you one day want to trade in or even sell some part of your collection.
To be a 'collector' with very little knowledge about the items you want to collect is not wise. So before you collect antiques you need to collect knowledge and that you can do by doing business with established dealers who have been in business for maybe generations, or from any of the international auction houses such as Sotheby's or Christie's. This in most cases means that you beside the piece also will pay for their expertise and guarantees much as you would for the service of a doctor or a lawyer.
Then, when you have become an expert in your own area of collecting, you can start bargain hunting on your own. Then you will just love flea markets, garage sales, local auctions and even eBay. They are fun and are gold mines to the knowledgeable as much as financial death traps for the unwary.
On the top level, it looks to me that the 19th century Imperial pieces are under priced.
On the medium level I believe that 18th century export porcelain will continue to have a steady market. The most intricate decorations from around 1780-90's are most likely to take off since this is appreciated in China too. That the prices on good Kangxi have quadrupled over the last year might have escaped some of the lesser dealers and some local auction houses, so in this segment there might still be bargain possibilities. Unfortunately the market has also been flooded with good copies, so beware.
In the low end of the market, nicely hand painted enameled pieces from around 1890 until the mid 1940's are being sought after in Asia which has its implications in the West too, since much of this has been exported. Prices from a few $ a year ago are now up into the hundred at least in some cases. From 1950 and later I have a hard time thinking anything will ever be worth anything since so much is printed and machine made, but sooner or later this will probably be collected too, so lets give it a few more decades.
On the current low end I think that hand painted Japanese export porcelains as in the numerous eggshell tea cups and coffee sets from the 1890's up until well into the 1950's might become the next big surprise. Some of it are remarkable good. It is hand painted, it is cheap, there are tons of it easily available, there are no fakes, and nobody seems to think it will ever amount to anything. My bet is, just wait and see.
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