| Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries

Visitors' Forum

Asian Art  Forums - Reply Message
Asian Art Forums

Message Listing by Date:
Message Index | Back | Post a New Message | Search | Private Mail | FAQ
Subject:A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Sun, Mar 07, 2010 IP:

Lee has made a number of assertions which I take issue with, but rather than attempt to answer these over several postings, I have consolidated these into one.

Lee, before you post more disparaging comments about my knowledge, you really do need to read both of my books and those of the early Western writers Bushell, Hobson and the Scherzer/Vogt commentaries.

You said in one of your earlier posts:"Hi bill, there has to be crackle on the glaze, to be authentic. That is because the temperature in the old wood coal kilns were not constant and when there is a thick glaze there is bound to be crackling. You don't get them on electric oven modern flambe or langyao vases. An absence of crackling is a sure sign of a modern fake.There is lots of crackle on the 18th century flambe jar I posted. They appear as fine white lines in the picture. I think I can see it on Toan's vase as well. That is a sign that it is at least late 19th century or early 20th century and wood klin fired."

I have posted a photo of a Qianlong mark and period (1736 to 1795) dish, which is illustrated in my second book. It has no crackle and the glaze runs out evenly at the footrim. Two Kangxi peachbloom brushwashers, also illustrated in the book, have the same features, as do the majority of the copper red wares I had for illustration at the time of writing.

The next comment I have to make, in no way denigrating her book, is that He Li's book "Chinese Ceramics. A New Comprehensive Survey", has been written in the manner of an auction catalogue. But is it comprehensive? It has for example, no Ming burial wares, hardly any 18th and 19th century export wares, very few late Qing Imperial wares, no Nonya wares, no Shiwan stonewares, no Canton famille rose or rose medallion, no Qing provincial wares etc. How can a book be comprehensive with so many omissions?
In making her comment which you quote about red glaze overrunning the foot in 18th century wares, she echoes the opinion of numbers of Chinese dealers I have met, who incorrectly date these as 18th century, rather than 19th or early 20th century.

In "Allen's Authentication of Later Chinese Porcelain", I quoted Bushell, who circa 1895, commenting on a then modern sang-de-boeuf vase, observed "the foot of the vase has had to be ground on the wheel to remove drops of glaze that have run down during the firing. It is impossible to remove all traces of such drops, which usually occur in modern pieces of the kind - never on the old, when the glaze, which is uniformly distributed throughout, always terminates below in a straight line of mathematical regularity, and the foot of the wheel exhibits no marks of the polishing wheel. The glaze in the new pieces is much more fluescent, so that the colour tends to run down, and the upper rim of the vase is often left perfectly white".

Hobson, writing circa 1915, commented: "Even the best, however, of these wares should be recognised by inferiority of form and material, and in the case of red the fluescent glaze will be found in the modern pieces to have overrun the footrim, necessitating grinding of the base rim".

I accept the fact that there is the odd exception to Bushell & Hobson's observations (notably some 18th century flambe glazes), but in the overwhelming majority of cases, they were correct. This should not encourage readers to believe that just because a piece has not been ground, it must be old; but if the excess glaze has been ground or chipped off the base, it may safely be concluded that the item was made after 1865. Many Chinese dealers in particular, consistently misdate these ground vases to the 18th century.

I was unable to find an example of Lee's langyao hexagonal vase in my quick search in my library. The shape does not feature in Li Liangyu's Ch'ing Official and Popular Wares. I did however find a very similar but blue glazed vase, illustrated in a Chinese text, and dated as Guangxu (1875 to 1908), despite bearing a Qianlong (1736 to 1795) reign mark.

Scherzer, who visited Jingdezhen in 1882, said of the Ho factory, the sole remaining manufacturer of the copper red glaze, "this paste fires to a porcelain at a temperature of around 1275 to 1300 degrees centigrade; it then has a pronounced grey colour... and its transparency is practically nil..."

I trust readers find these commentaries interesting and helpful. There are admittedly not many areas in the study of Chinese ceramics that the Chinese "experts" consistently get it wrong; but the red glazes are one of them. It is interesting to note that neither of my two principal Chinese advisers in the dating of the red wares chosen for illustration, shared the traditional Chinese view. I am grateful for the assistance of Lei Rui Chun, former deputy director of the Jingdezhen Museum, and Tai Leung Hop, former manager of the Chinese Arts and Crafts antique department in Hong Kong.


Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: LEE Sun, Mar 07, 2010

Tony, show me a vase with flambe or langyao glaze in a reputable museum that has no crackle. I can show you several with crackles. National Palace museum of Taiwan website has one. Asian Art Museum San Francisco has a few. Percival David foundation has a langyao vase with crackles. Teadust gallery have several all crackled. Crackling is a feature of Langyao and Flambe. I have a whole heap of catalogs with Langyao and Flambe vases all crackled. There are 3 lots of langyao in Christie's coming auction in NY, all crackled- lot 1425, lot1423 in sale 2297.Let me say this one more time for the audience,
the abscense is a sure sign of modern forgery. Just send your picture to Christies and Sotheby's for valuation you don't need to hear it from me.

There are numerous Hexagonal vases on both Christies and Sotheby's website, dating from various period. They have similarities and differences from my vase. Yes this is a very rare langyao vase, the only piece I have ever encountered, that is why I have not passed it on yet.
He Li's book is special as it describes the features of porcelain vessels from famous museums in detail to the reader. Reader's can be assured that these description is of authentic porcelain pieces from respectable Museums like the Palace museum and the Asian art museum of San Francisco, not some salesman or shop talk. Example picture 560 Coral red glaze bottle vase mid Qing (18th century) The beautiful thick red glaze on the exterior reveals darker-red specks caused by the concentrated enamel glazed areas that were blown on. The interior and base of this pieces are glazed in white and traces of careful TRIMMING are visible on the footring edge. Although it has NO MARK the heavy nature of the form indicates a date of manufacture rather early in the 18th century.
Picture 561 Red glaze Bottle vase incised with 4 character late 17th-18th century ------The ruby glaze seen here combined with a white glazed interior and NEATLY TRIMMED FOOTRING EDGE are TYPICAL of Qing imperial craftmanship. Both these pieces are from the San Francisco Museum.
My suspicion is that in the late 19th and early 20th century there were many copies of imperial ceramics made for the western market as there was a huge demand for imperial ceramics at the time. Mr Bushells was describing those contemporary fakes, consequently assuming that all carved foot pieces were fake, but this wasn't the case.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: LEE Sun, Mar 07, 2010

Tony don't confused the audience with your sacrificial red glaze plate. There is a huge difference between langyao and red glaze. As quoted by He Li,553 red glaze plate , The sacrificial red glaze on this piece has been confused with langyaohong (ox blood glaze), in some documents. The latter is distinguishable from sacrificial red because it is THICKER (like I said thick glaze crackle), HARDER (like LEE said high fired) and more transparent. The long-lived sacrificial red glaze continued to be used on the ceramic objects made in standized sizes and forms throughout the Qing dynasty. Made to imitate ming Xuande prototype. Goes on to say about red plate no 556. The yongzheng sacrificial red glaze fires to bright red , is even in coating and exhibit no visible crazing.
To summarize sacrificial red is not langyao and Langyao is thick and hard in glaze and therefore has crackles while sacrificial red usually used in plates and bowls are thin in glaze and do not crackle. Tony don't get confused about the two.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Mon, Mar 08, 2010

Lee, you keep contradicting yourself. In relation to the posting titled Langyao Bottle Vase, you said

"Tony, there is no misconception here. We are dealing with guan yao not ming yao. Only flambe, langyao and other copper red glazes pieces have feet that are sometimes trimmed.

You then said

"Hi Tony, I never mention that piece is imperial, only to point out it is of better quality, probably fit for a temple of an official's home"

Lee, for the benefit of myself and other non-Chinese speaking readers, please explain what is Guan yao, if not imperial?

You also said "and other red glazes". You now attempt to exclude sacrificial red, arguably the most common of the copper red glazes.

If you had read my book, Allen's Authentication of Later Chinese Porcelain", before it ran out of print, you would have found a number of red glazed porcelains illustrated which do not support your assertions. These include an Imperial Xianfeng Yuhuchun ping vase with no crackle. Now tell me it was a fake and I'll tell you what it sold for at Sotheby's.

Sorry, but I cannot agree with many of your assertions.


Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: LEE Tue, Mar 09, 2010

Hi Tony, I hope you are enjoying this discussion, I will try find your book at the reference library. You do have a point that they are all copper based glaze. I suspect the only 2 that crackles and have trouble with flow are flambe and langyao. I have a peach bloom vase with kangxi mark that dates to the early 1900s that have no trimming on the rim. The only different is the glaze is lighted pink than the authentic peach glaze. I note that the true Kangxi langyao have a bright red glaze, and the top part is yellow rather than blue. On this criteria Toan's langyao vase is more likely to be Kangxi or early than late 19th century. It is really difficult to say if a langyao vase is Kangxi or replica as so many copies were made in the late 19th- early 20th century.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: LEE Tue, Mar 09, 2010

Tony, my definition of Guan ware is any ware that is made from the imperial klin. Since Langyao ware was made under the supervision of official Lang Tonji ( 1705-1712)under the direction of emperor Kangxi at the imperial klin. Obviously the Kangxi langyao pieces would have come from such imperial klins and hence they were good quality and well potted and trimmed if necessary , thier mouth and base glazed with celadon or grey white crackled glaze and have crackled bright red colors. A characteristic of such Kangxi langyao is that they are seldom marked, as mentioned by He Li and others. Such characteristics were carefully copied in the late 19th -early 20th century, which makes authentication of such wares very difficult. Gettysbury museum website list a few pieces that date from either Kangxi or early 20th century. To add to the confusion even early forms of the Guanyin vase and bottle vases were also replicated . The only distinguishing factor were color of the glaze, which should be bright cherry red and not maroon and gloss- mustn't be too glossy and bubbles in glaze- must have very tinny bubbles, exposed neck area should be yellow in color and not green. There is no mention of foot glaze trimming. On those reasons, the real date of my hexagon langyao vase can only be known from a TLS test.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Samuel Wed, Mar 10, 2010

Sorry, wrong typing.

TLS test as Mr.Lee said is Transport Layer Security protocol.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Anthony J Allen Sat, Mar 13, 2010

I understand that the amazing collection of Chinese porcelain assembled by W.T. Walters, used by Bushell circa 1895 to illustrate his book Oriental Ceramic Art, remains virtually intact, possibly in a museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

I have not had the privilege of viewing it, but from the photos shown in Bushell's pioneering work, I would strongly recommend it to any student of Chinese porcelain; as I would the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Can any reader confirm that the Walter's collection is still available to view?

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: toan Sun, Mar 14, 2010

Dear TONY and LEE
Many thanks for all your trouble in sharing your knowledges with novices like me
Your opinions may differ but still extremely useful to us
This forum need people like yourselves
Kind regards

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: loulourose Tue, Feb 08, 2011

Yongzheng Imperial stembowl, mark and period - no crackle. Such amazing exquisite glaze, you can see why they are so prized. Unfortunately I'm selling because it is a little too precious for me to properly care for in my home so I don't want to post full photos just in case it could get me in trouble. . . but wanted to share my photos I took of the glaze up close.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: George Chen Thu, Mar 09, 2017

Do all vases with Langyao glaze that run off the foot rim and require to be chipped off mean that they were made after the Ching dynasty in the Republic period?

Post a Reply
Group: China & Japan
Link URL:
Enter here the complete URL of any site, page or image you would like to show other visitors.
URL Title:
Enter here the title of the link you've given above. This will appear to the visitor. Eg., if you are linking another picture, enter "Another picture". The link will not appear without a title.
Image URL:
Enter here the URL of an image if it is already uploaded on the web. The image will appear with your posting. Do not post pictures which are not yours without permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of each poster to make sure they have permission to use any photos they post.
Image: You may upload up to three images. If you would like to upload more images to this message please do so by replying to this same message.

Please make sure the file type is JPEG or GIF and the filename does not contain spaces.

Use the Browse button to find an image (jpg or gif) on a local drive on your computer to upload for including with your message. Do not upload images with file names containing spaces. Please do not upload files larger than 500 KB in size. Do not post pictures which are not yours without permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of each poster to make sure they have permission to use any photos they post. Check the "email notification" box below if you would like to be notified of any responses to your message.
Check here for email notification.
Security Code: Security Image: please enter the text appears in this image.

Please type in the code you see in the image directly above this input box.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: JLim Fri, Sep 08, 2017

Dear George Chen

I would say precisely the opposite. Langyao vases that have been crudely chiselled at the base, according to Allen's book on Later Chinese Porcelain (page 137) are diagnostic of the third quarter of the 19th century to about 1900.

In around 1900, the Ho Family, which had a monopoly on the secret of how to create Langyao, went extinct. The method was then lost for decades, until Langyao started to be produced again some time in the 20th century. By this time the chiselling technique had stopped.

This is my understanding of Allen's argument, backed up by his examinations of red vases in the V&A museum etc. I would say that, if you are following Mr Allen's principle, a Langyao vase, if it has a chiselled base, is probably *either* c. 1875 - 1900, *or* *else* a modern fake.

Check out the glaze inside the base; late 19th century Langyao has a pastel-greenish crackled glaze there that Allen describes as being like "green cream". Also check the crackle patterns inside the red glaze itself; Allen has some superb photos that will allow a comparison.


Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Jacob Sat, Aug 12, 2017

I heard there was a parable about a potter falling into the kiln chimney, desperate in his attempt to reproduce the sang de boeuf glaze. Can someone please elaborate this story for me? I'm very interested.

Subject:Re: A Continuation of the Red Glazed Discussion
Posted By: Ellen Huang Wed, Aug 30, 2017

Hi. What a wonderful discussion. I have a forthcoming article in the Spring 2018 issue of Archives of Asian Art (Duke University Press) entitled, "An Art of Transformation: Reproducing Yaobian Glazes in Qing Dynasty Porcelain," that discusses origin of the textual documentation of this pottery jumping into the kiln story and it's material and textual afterlife. In short, I discuss the first appearance in a historical source, the Tiangong kaiwu and its adoption by the imperial administrator/court official, Tang Ying, in 1730. In Jingdezhen today, a large amount of space is dedicated to this potter in cultural heritage museums.
Ellen Huang, Ph.D.
Stanford University Cantor Arts Center
Asian Art Curatorial Fellow | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |