in the Topkapi Saray Museum
Review by Jan-Erik Nilsson on March 25th, 2008 // Filed under Ming Porcelain, Yuan Dynasty
Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, by Regina Krahl, et al., London, 1986. This is not really a book. This is a career. It is a heavy set of three books really and they are very expensive. Still they are a “must have” if you really want to understand early Ming blue and white.
The wares in this complete catalogue present a continuous review of porcelain made for export from the 13th to the 20th century which in it’s range of styles and designs is without equal in other collections. With some 4500 pieces dating from the Yuan and Ming dynasties and 5500 from Qing, this three volume set constitutes one of the most extensively illustrated works on Chinese ceramics.
Volume 1 : ‘Celadon Wares’, volume 2 : ‘Yuan and Ming’ volume 3 : ‘Qing’. The three volumes are in slipcases, limited edition of 1500 numbered copies. English text. 1986, fol., 1,384 pages, 5000 ill., cl.
Publisher: Sotheby Parke Bernet Pubns (May 1986)
Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 11.5 x 7 inches
Shipping Weight: cool 35.4 pounds !
There is also a recent edition of only two volumes available but I have not compared them and don’t know how much you loose in comparison with the first edition.
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in the Topkapi Saray Museum”
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Here is a warning. There is also a 3 volume set of the Topkapi museum from the writer T. Misuqi, and is from 1981, from Hong Kong press. That set of Hong Kong press is not the right one and has a lot less pictures in them. I wish I had not bought that set but instead the Sotheby’s set from Ayers and Krahl.
Owning these three volumes enabled me accurately to identify, at a major UK public auction, a superb pair of 18th century chargers made for the Muslim market. These were catalgued as “late 19th – early 20th century”. This purchase alone repaid the original purchase price of the books (£450 in May 1986). Had the auctioneer had access to this book the chargers would have been in a premium Chinese ceramics sale at 50 times the selling price.
The work is particularly useful for deciphering and dating early hall marks. “Fine Vessel for Wealth and Honour” springs to mind as the otherwise meaningless mark on a pair of 16th vases in our collection.
A gold-mine of information for any collector. Even at today’s prices (Nov 2012 – around £7,000), these volumes are an outright bargain.