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Blue and white vase with Qianlong mark

I recently inherited two identical Chinese blue and white vases from my grandmother there were six in total and each of my sisters now also have two each.

I have been trying to establish what period these vases are from and as this is my first experience of Chinese porcelain, I'm not doing very well! The vases are about 26 inches (66cm) high and are 12 inches (30cm) wide at the widest point. They have six sides and each side is decorated with plants.

They are also very much heavier than they look and the mark looks like that of Qianlong.

However, from looking through your site and after several visits to the library, I think these vases may come from a later Qing period. I think this because of the shape and quality of the decorations.

Also, my grandfather apparently purchased all six vases in Canton in the 1920s or 30s and they were supposed to be about 70 years old then.

Can you confirm the period from the pictures and are the six together worth more than pairs alone? Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

I can tell you that whatever their history, we just love their form and think they are very beautiful. My sisters and I intend that they stay in our families.

Either genuine or new when bought

Thank you for your kind words about my site - it do take a lot of time to manage but since I have a great interest in Chinese porcelain I have found it to be a very good way to meet people from all over the world with similar interest :-)

Regarding your vases, there really only seems to be two options; Either they are from the period of the mark or, from the Guangxu period and up to the 1920s, when really good copies still could be - and were - made.

Unfortunately I don't recognize the handwriting of the mark as of the Qianlong period, nor is the shape of the vases exactly as I would have wanted, if they were to be Qianlong period pieces. But the possibility they are period pieces, are still quite serious.

We could put it like I am 95 % convinced they are from the 1920s, but the mere remaining 5% does indeed make it worthwhile for you to ask for a professional opinion. In this, I would like to recommend the Asian department of Christie's in New York or London.

Not the least since a Qing Dynasty hexagonal porcelain vase with Qianlong mark and period recently seems to have been bought for HK$20.9 million, by a Chinese government agency reputedly within an ongoing effort to collect back missing National Treasures.

As for later replicas of this high quality, my guess would indicate a price around US $1,000 each and maybe $2,500 for a pair.

Thank you for your interest.

Best regards,
Jan-Erik Nilsson