Chicken Blood Soapstone

One of the most valued materials in China, ‘chicken-blood’ soapstone is considered a protection from evil and is believed to be even more powerful than jade. As red is traditionally considered symbolic of good luck, soapstone of this colour was gifted on occasions of marriage, birthdays, promotions and success.

The name derives from its bright red colour which resembles chicken blood, which is composed of eight basic colours which blend or combine in different layers: red, black, white, yellow, green, blue, grey and purple. The stone is a finegrained mixture of clay and quartz with varying amounts of red cinnabar.

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Chinese Antiques – Exceptional Auction Prices

Chinese Antiques – Some Exceptional Auction Prices By Christies

An exceptionally rare and important blue and white jar Guan Yuan Dynasty, mid 14th century

Price realized: £15,688,000
July 2005, London, King Street

A fine and highly important Imperial famille rose ‘swallows’ bowl Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark within double-squares and of the period (1736-1795)

Price realized: HK$151,320,000 (US$19,671,600)
November 2006, Hong Kong

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Important Wucai Fish Jar to be offered at Sotheby’s

This September Sotheby’s will be offering an important Wucai Fish jar from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore during its Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction. The sale of the jar is to benefit the Asian Art Acquisitions Fund and is one of two in the museum collection.

While the other jar is currently on view in Baltimore, this one has not seen the light of day since the 1920′s which means that it was shelved only a decade after Henry Walters opened his collection to the public in 1909 and has remained there ever since.

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Priceless Ge Type Song Dynasty Dish Broken

The Palace Museum in Beijing has confirmed that a priceless porcelain dish dating from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) has been broken. Long Can disclosed on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter that an item of Ge porcelain ware, one of 1,106 pieces of first-grade porcelain in the Palace Museum, was broken into six pieces by a staff worker, according to Jinghua Times in Beijing. [Source: J. L. Young, Want China Times, July 31, 2011, Leo Lewis, Times of London, August 2011]

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Qing Dynasty Marks

Chinese ceramics often have a reign mark on the base indicating the date the object was made. They can be made up of four to six Chinese characters, in kaishu (normal script) or zhuanshu (archaic seal script). Zhuanshu was developed from bronze inscriptions and stylized into a form of calligraphy. The first two characters of six character reign marks consist of the name of the dynasty, for example Da Qing (Great Qing) followed by the name with which the period was made, for example Kangxi (after the Kangxi emperor) and finally nian zhi (period made). When four characters are used, the title of the dynasty is omitted, e.g Kangxi nian zhi.

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