Why Buy Chinese Antiques?

Investing in Chinese porcelain & works of art can be very profitable, but be sure to know what you are buying is of good quality – and genuine! There is a lot of fake Chinese antiques on the market.

The entire global market for Chinese artworks totaled US$8.5 billion in 2013, some 28% of the value of total sales of art and antiques auctioned around the world, with mainland China accounting for 70% of the total.

Within this sector, the highest average prices were found in older period pieces, reflecting a strong cultural focus in China, as well as limited supply.

The wealth, limited supply, and economic dynamics within China all point to a solid outlook for long-term growth in the Chinese art & antiques market.

The chart below shows the distribution of fine art auction sales revenue worldwide in 2016 by country.

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Transitional Porcelain A Quick Primer

A Chinese porcelain blue and white waisted brushpot, Transitional period. Circa 1640

During the early/mid seventeenth century in China, for some fifty years the absence of Imperial patronage meant non-Imperial kilns played a leading role in ceramic production.

This resulted in one of the most dynamic and fascinating periods in China’s porcelain history.

The withdrawal from Jingdezhen’s potters of Court patronage led to a dramatic diversity of production, as the kilns turned their attention to selling both into the non-Imperial domestic market, and into newly-emerging export markets, notably the Dutch and Japanese markets.

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Made In China

On a recent trip to Istanbul, my family and I strolled through cobblestone streets in the ancient shadows of domed mosques and spiraling minarets, our meandering gait, awestruck gaze, and open map rendering it obvious that we were tourists.  A friendly local – yes, a carpet vendor – asked if we needed directions so we inquired the way to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets.

Just saying the words – Grand Bazaar – conjured images of woven rugs and glazed tiles, Ottoman miniatures and Turkish delight, smoking hookahs and burbling fountains. Sadly, our romantic visions were shattered when the man gave us directions and then added caustically, “But be careful – almost everything there is made in China.”

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German researcher says Marco Polo did visit China

Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Tuübingen Hans Ulrich Vogel claimed that the ancient Italian world traveler Marco polo did really go to China.

Italian archaeologists had earlier said that Venice’s most famous traveler might had never been to Asia and compiled the orient stories in his book from other traders’ experience.

They believed the orient descriptions featured in Marco Polo’s travelogue The Travels of Marco Polo is not from his own journeys through Persia, Asia and the Far East between 1271 and 1291.

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A Jade Primer

Some scholars have suggested that Chinese civilization was built around jade. Known as the “Stone of Heaven,” it was more valuable than gold or gems in imperial China and was considered a bridge between heaven and earth. Prized for both its beauty and symbolic value, jade has traditionally been worn as talisman by Chinese and shaped into a variety of objects.

Jade comes in two forms: nephrite and jadeite, both of which are prized for their hardness, firmness and ability to be carved and the luster they generate that creates an appearance of transparency. Nephrite and jadeite are two chemically different and distinct materials. Both are technically rocks not gems, since they are mineral aggregates rather than crystals. Natural stones passed off as jade include chrysoprase, jasper, serpentine and soapstone.

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Smashed Kangxi Vase Back On Display

A 17th century Chinese porcelain vase accidentally smashed when a museum visitor tripped on a shoelace is back on display after being restored.

The vase, from the Qing Dynasty, was broken in January when disabled Nick Flynn, who is in his early 40s and lives near Cambridge, crashed into it at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Specialist ceramic restorer Penny Bendall today said she had glued together 113 pieces ready for the vase to feature in an exhibition at the museum about art restoration.

Ms Bendall hopes to restore two similar vases, also broken by Mr Flynn during the same incident, by Christmas.

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Doubts over $35 million Han dynasty jade chair & stool

ART experts and historians are questioning the authenticity of a jade dressing table and stool said to date from the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) that were sold for hundreds of millions of yuan at auction in China last year.

The jade furniture fetched 220 million yuan (US$35 million) in January 2011.

The authenticity of the pieces was questioned because Chinese were thought to have sat on the floor, not on stools or chairs, during the Han Dynasty, academics say.

The set was sold by Beijing Zhongjia International Auctions, whose Web site describes the 138kg dressing table and 35kg stool as being from the Han Dynasty.

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Chinese Tomb Looters – “To be rich dig up an ancient tomb; to make a fortune open a coffin.”

Looting is a serious problem in China. Looters have ravaged ancient tombs and archeological sites, taking priceless relics, armor, weapons, porcelain, bronzes, silk and ornaments. In many cases the looting is done by farmers, construction workers and criminal gangs. Many farmers have turned to looting because they make so little money from farming, their living expenses are high and looting presents an opportunity to make a lot of money quick that is hard to resist. According to one peasant saying: “To be rich dig up an ancient tomb; to make a fortune open a coffin.” Evidence of looting is founded in the flashy clothes and nice homes owned by former peasant farmers.

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