Qianlong seal with extra marks beneath it

by Christine
(Milwaukee, WI)

Front

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Front
Back
Mark

Hi, my name is Christine, and thanks for taking a look at my post. I have a few questions about a chinese plate with two geishas looking at a censor.


I think it is beautiful, but have a few questions about the marks on the back. I have found a picture online of the Qianlong seal that matches this one identically, the parts inside the squares, but I have never seen any markings below the seal.

Does anyone know what these might mean?

Also, I am confused about part of the seal. It is in the middle row on the top, and in most pieces I have seen there is an "S" shape.

This piece doesn't have that, and I am wondering why? Am I correct in assuming this is a reproduction, or period piece?

I found it at an estate sale. I am an avid rummager, and didn't pay too much for it, but I am just wondering what it is exactly. I like to hunt for the best bargains, and so far have done pretty well.

Thanks to all for the help in identifying these marks!!

Christine

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What Style is this Chinese Plate?
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Christine

Sorry to be so long in replying but I mislaid a batch of entries and am just now slowly going through them.

I love your post, as it's from a fellow 'rummager'. I love that word to describe what china enthusiasts do.

So, as a fellow rummager and not really any kind of expert in Oriental wares, let me share with you the process I would go through to dig down into the origin of a plate like yours. Without the benefit of an expert's experience or eye it has to come down to a process of logical elimination.

First, I would look at the mark and ask myself - is it typical 20th century export faux mark "Da Qing Qianlong Nian Zhi" or "Great Qing Qianlong Period Make" red square seal etc?

In this case it nearly is, but not quite. Something different about it - for example, the extra words under the red square seal mark.

Then, okay, what do the extra words say? Using the OCR recognition website www.newocr.com it appears to say something like "Gong Produced 59 L". That may of may be wildly inaccurate, but if it is even partly accurate it may be saying "Skills produced 59".

Next the style of decoration:-

Is it typical Chinese Famille Rose/Manderin/Canton?

If so, is it of high quality and/or typical of older more valuable work, or is it just kind of easy to mass produce type export stuff?

Looking at the style, without being able to see it closely, just by the photos, It doesn't appear to match any Chinese style past or present:-

Here's why I say that....

I look at hundreds of past auction lots and take an overview of Chinese porcelain production that you generally see out there on offer and past lots, going back years.

For example, there's lots described in the following ways - these are just a couple of examples:-

Chinese 'Mandarin' Style (Depictions of figures of mandarins (Chinese officials of rank) and/or their court painted in a scenic setting surrounded by panels of floral ornamentation and decoration. The term has now become very loose.)


chinese-mandarin-plate

This above plate was described as (who knows how accurately) "Famille Rose Chinese Mandarin Qianlong Platter early 1800's" Sold by Auctioneer Charmey's of Wilmington, DE for $400 (auctioneer estimate $1,200 – $1,500) in Dec 2014. Note the somewhat 'painterly style of the artwork'.

Chinese 'Canton' Style (Canton being the old English pronunciation for Guangzhou where blank whiteware porcelain was brought in the 18th & 19th centuries to be painted in overglaze enameled decoration in a style favoured by the European export market.)


chinese-canton-plate

This plate, described as 'Canton' in the auction description, has a reliable provenance which indicates late 18th C or early 19th Century date was sold in New Zealand for about $900 NZ in March 2014 by Dunbar Sloane of Auckland New Zealand. Again, note the somewhat 'painterly style of the artwork'.

So I looked through, many lots and noticed there was a common denominator of Chinese decoration of a painterly style.

In contrast, when I looked through Japanese decoration on plates, I noticed a generally much more linear style, less 'painterly'.

Here's an example of the more Japanese linear style of porcelain decoration where the painting seems to be done by colouring in between the lines:-


japanese-linear-porcelain-decoration

So when I look through many many examples, the big picture, to me seems to be that your plate looks much more in the style of Japanese graphic art than the tradition of Chinese painting.

There seems to be an ink line which is then filled in with a wash of enamel. Of course, if your plate was 1959 vintage, then the mass-production technique would be to transfer print the ink outline and then hand wash in the colour. Japan was know during the post war export boom to export Chinese style wares with Chinese marks.

I would come to the conclusion, until a proper expert came along to tell me otherwise, that your plate was an interesting example of one of those.

The reason I say that, to conclude, is because it doesn't look very Chinese, it has a much more Japanese look to it, and the ink outline may well be transfer print, and this would all fit with the, not unknown, phenomena of at least some post war Japanese wares being marked as Chinese Qianlong.

Hopefully, a better person than me will come and help us out on this thread and give us the low down on what this plate actually is.

Best regards and thanks for starting a very interesting thread.

Peter (admin)

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