I have a wucai decorated vase measuring 30.5 cm tall with a maximum diameter varying from 19.9 cm to 20.1 cm. The mouth is 6.0 cm wide and glazed right to the top. The top surface of the rim is unglazed.
The vase is assembled from three parts. The joints are at the major diameter of the vase and just above the shoulder decoration (about 0.5 cm) and can be felt on the outer surface.
It was obtained by a relative who was a member of a diplomatic mission to China. He returned to the United States just before World War II. I don't know if the vase was a gift or purchased. I am trying to identiy when it was made and it's approximate value. Can you help?
The vase depicts two dragons and a phoenix with fire and clouds. On the neck there is a green headed black (dark purple) dragon chasing a flaming pearl. On the body of the vase is a red headed green dragon also chasing a flaming pearl. Opposite the green dragon is a phoenix that appears to be chasing an object that is sitting on or above a cloud. This object is a red ovoid with what looks like fine hair on the top. The ovoid is sitting on a blue cushion(?) that is in turn sitting on the cloud. I've not seen anything like this during my online research.
Some notes that may not be visible in the pictures:
There are several parts that are gold painted: The two flaming pearls, the wide band at the bottom of the shoulder decoration, and the character that appears four times within the shoulder decoration.
There are two fine cracks that extend from the mouth downward. Both are visible on the outside for 2 cm and 2.5 cm. Inside, the cracks are visible for 3cm and 5 cm.
There are numerous bubble holes and bumps evenly distributed over the entire vase. The vase weighs about 1.8 kg.
Thank you for any help you can give.
Thank you for sending me pictures of your interesting vase.
First of all I might say that the decoration is not really a wucai, since wucai - meaning "five color decoration" - is really of the late Ming period and should only have transparent enamels, and since most of the enamels on this vase seems to be - meaning mixed with some white - probably the correct name should be fencai or "Famille Rose" enamels. Famille Rose is not entirely correct but would do for most purposes.
As for the vase itself, it is of a shape which originated during the Guangxu period, but by studying the enamels I might would have wanted to suggest a slightly later date, maybe settling for the "first decades of the 20th century" and then actually meaning the 1930's.
As for a value, that is always decided by the market and I actually don't know what to suggest, my main point might be that the value is seriously reduced by the neck being cut down But, lets suggest a price level of about US $500 as likely. Lets also mention that several antiques dealers would have been accepted this vase as being of(I> the Guangxu period.
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