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Two items bought in Switzerland

Jar and Plate

Here some pictures of two items which we bought in a small auction house in Switzerland.

We have spent quite some time with trying to figure out whether these items are original/fake, where they come from and how old they could be. So far, we have not been very successful.

Can you give us some hints? Thanks very much for your help with this

Probably both original pieces

Thank you for sending me pictures of your interesting pieces.

The jar seems to be Chinese and from a provincial South Chinese coastal kiln called "Swatow". A likely date would then be late Ming dynasty / 16th century, matching pretty well the Ming dynasty Wanli period.

There is something with the shape though which is not entirely convincing. If you would like to compare the piece in reality with the pictures sent and see if the jar is more rounded - more squat - that would be a good sign. If not, the jar might still be genuine but slightly later, despite its very convincing Ming style decoration.

I would also really like if it about halfway up on the inside of the wall, were a clear line as if the jar had been made in two parts - one upper and one bottom part - and then being luted together with wet clay. The traces of this should still be visibly on the inside.

The plate is a bit less convincing. There should really not be much doubt about the plate being Japanese if not altogether an "all out fake". The front side has a Japanese style decoration even if the Dragon" in my eyes are too much like a shrimp to be taken real serious. The warped shape, is as it should be, even if I would have preferred it to be just a little bit less pronounced.

On the base there also seems to be three marks from a kiln support, stuck in the glaze. That is a sure sign of it Japanese origin. These marks I would prefer not to be perfectly round, but rather shaped as rice grains.

The base mark is - even if I have never seen a mark exactly like this - fairly similar to symbol marks used on Chinese porcelain since the end of the 17th century up until the mid 18th century. The double rings are also drawn as on Chinese porcelain, while Japanese porcelain most often only have one ring, drawn closer to the foot rim. If we still accept the plate as antique, the base is in any case a copy of those found on Chinese porcelain.

If antique at all, the most likely date for the plate would be early to mid 18th century.

As you can see by the above I am not entirely sure. This should therefore all be taken as "general" information and the question of their absolute date and authenticity must be left to someone who are in the position to actually handle the pieces.

Still, that much I could say about these pieces, that there is nothing that explicitly would pronounce them as "fakes". The questionably points being the shape of the jar and for the plate, the "shrimp" looking dragon and the shape of the kiln support marks.

Jan-Erik Nilsson