Chinese Antiques

Chinese Antiques

Antique Chinese ceramics, paintings, and furniture have always been sought after for their decorative artistry. Some Chinese antique pottery dates back more than two thousand years although much antique porcelain comes from the 15th century onward. Porcelain was invented by the Chinese in the 18th century, and the country has been known ever since for their exported porcelain tea sets, dishes, and figurines made with kaolin.

What are the main types of Chinese antiques people collect?

Collections of fine china tea sets, saucers, and bowls made for the Chinese export market are widely known in traditional home decor. Well-known antique cobalt blue and white fine china feature landscapes and figures. Saucers, plates, and platters are displayed to show off the patterns on the fine china.

Carved objects of jade such as snuff bottles, plaques, or figurines are prized for their luster and fine detail. White jade is particularly rare. Vintage Chinese scroll paintings featuring landscapes, floral scenes, or nature scenes are also prized as part of Chinese art collections. Antique Chinese furniture of rosewood feature simple, graceful lines and rich color prized by collectors. Chinese antiques that originate from the imperial courts are highly prized by collectors worldwide as well as within China.

What are some other Chinese antique art, porcelain, or pottery?
  • Small statuettes or figurines that show lifelike or fanciful people, mythological figures, or animals.
  • Vases in a variety of sizes, many highly decorated with abstract or floral designs. Antique Chinese vases can have rounded or flat sides. You will also find some antique vases that have been made into lamp bases.
  • Vintage garden seats that are decorated with landscapes, scenes from nature, or court life.
  • Decorative wall plaques that are painted and/or carved.
What color schemes are used on antique porcelain or china?
  • Chinese antique monochrome glazes enhance the geometric shape or surface texture of a ceramic object. A translucent celadon glaze resembles jade while monochrome colors frequently used include white, blue, copper red, green, turquoise, and yellow.
  • Thousands of Chinese antique ceramics from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties and the early Republic before 1920 exist that have intricate designs in cobalt blue over white showing landscapes, abstract patterns, mythological figures, or scenes from nature or life.
  • The vintage sancai palette refers to tricolored glazes of yellow, green, and cream. These date from the Tang dynasty on up through the Qing dynasty.
  • In the Qing dynasty, different color palettes and patterns were developed. The rose palette showed predominantly pink or rose tones embellished with fine polychrome enamels. The rose medallion pattern featured a central rose with rose, green, blue, yellow, black, and gold enamels portraying figures in garden settings, butterflies, flowers, and birds perched on branches. The yellow palette would have a yellow background with complementary polychrome enamel decoration. The green palette had a five-color palette with green dominating. The black family featured a dramatic black background color enhancing polychrome elements in enamel.

Chinese antiques are a rich area for accessible or rare collections. From patterned saucers to intricately decorated fine china to vintage Asian art, there's much to appreciate.

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