Identification of Copper red porcelain
1. Glaze should be very thick on Ming porcelains, sometimes massing like tear drops on the sides.
A. Glaze can be up to 3 mm thick and full of random large and small bubbles which can be encircled by the red color.
B. The red color will spread throughout the depth of the glaze on Ming wares.
C. Glaze can look as though its sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
D. Color can vary from purple to black to blood red on the same item and even disappear in places.
E. When photographed Ming reds will look the color of blood, purer red then in-person.
1. Qing reds can shade from light red to a peach colored pink.
a. Fakes often loose their blood red color when photographed.
2. White reserves on early Ming reds is often lumpy in texture.
a. Green spotting is usually not present on Ming copper reds, but can be present on Yuan wares.
b. Qing reds can have smooth green spotting by the red color, the green is rough on fakes.
c. The clear glazes can shade light green on real copper reds.
F. Underglaze red should not have any crackle, unless its Yuan.
g. Large granular particles and flaws can often be found in antique red glazes.
G. Foot-rims can burn a very light honey color where unglazed, often in a narrow band on the foot.
1. Foot-rims can be non-concentric on older porcelains.
a. The walls of the foot will be thicker on one side than the other.
b. Sand is often found adhering to the foot-rims and black spots can occur on the bottoms.
c. Early porcelain can feel waxy compared to newer porcelain.
d. Micro scratches can occur anywhere on items.
e. Circular items should be off-centered from kick wheel production.
H. The porcelain surface will have an orange peel texture and may have pinholes from bursting bubbles.
I. Porcelains should weigh about 1 pound per 1 inch in height or diameter.
1. Xuande wares are usually thicker then newer wares.
J. Stenciling can be present on Ming and Qing porcelains. K. Large porcelain items can have some warping at the edges and sagging in the middle.
1. A shoulder can be felt on the inside bottom above the foot-rim, sagging slightly.
2. Often bowls are out of round from kiln firing.
L. The center of turned porcelains should have a protrusion (nipple or mound) on the top and interior bottom.
1. The larger the item, the larger the protrusion.
2. Even the smallest wine cups will have nipples in the centers, although these are being copied today.
M. Most Ming or Qing porcelain for sale is flawed in some way, know if its intentional.
1. Flaws can include warping, kiln burning or blurring, poor colors. N. Qing foot-rims are usually round, glassy and smooth to the touch like dry macaroni.
O. Early Ming bases can be unglazed and burned brown, called rice paste base.
P. The quality of painting and detail is always higher on imperial porcelain.
Q. Thermoluminecence testing can be inconclusive. Dating can be distorted from a variety of reasons. R. Imperial foot-rims were often filed flat before kiln firing.
S. The rarity of imperial clay has caused even flawed items to be accepted or re-glazed especially reds. T. Often looking at any antique porcelain for months will tell the truth of its age, it will look more beautiful or it won't.
U. Often porcelains will have iron, calcium or grit adhering to the body from long term burial and or grit adhering to the glaze. V. Some early wares are very heavy and contain black pepper like spots in their clear glaze along with glaze losses. W. I would like to say please avoid T/L testing of porcelains if at all possible. High fired porcelain along with X-rays have really destroyed the ability to test some old porcelains. You are left with the possibly of an antique porcelain with drill holes which render it almost worthless, along with the loss of the cost of testing and time involved.