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MARKS ON CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN - Identification reference


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marks on Chinese porcelainThe original term of Chinese Export essentially refers to porcelains that were exported to Western markets, particularly Europe, from around 15th to the 19thC. Commonly also referred to as Chinoiserie, these were very expensive and affordable only by the very rich or noble households. This changed dramatically with the advent of German & French porcelain making in the mid-1700s. Chinese porcelain was imported in lesser quantities and the local Meissen & Dresden and Sevres & Paris porcelain equivalents were greatly attractive to even wealthy clients that were very happy in satisfying demand while paying less.

However, this trend of lower Chinese porcelain imports from the Orient over the last 150+ years has nowadays been reversed exponentially and to unprecedented levels. Although still of great quality, Chinese porcelain made in the last part of 20thC to Present is still signed with old marks that are often identical to those observed on authentic antique Chinese pieces from many centuries ago.

This complicates matters when it comes to properly identifying Chinese porcelain. Obviously, experience is the key, but it also important to realize that the vast majority of items marked with old Chinese symbols are nonetheless recent reproductions. The chance that a flea-market find will turn out to be the proverbial Ming vase is just bogus and so unlikely, that it is more probable to be hit by thunder than discover such a treasure [except when it actually does happen, I guess; then it is truly like being hit by thunder... Just don't count on it!]

Another category of Chinese porcelain marks that are somewhat easier to decipher are those that resemble older European makers, especially on items in Western styles. Apart from some rare but blatantly bold attempts to deceive by marking these wares with identical copies of German or French or British backstamps, a vast proportion of these reproductions bear marks that differ in some subtle ways to the original. A trained eye can distinguish these more often than not and mistakes can be avoided.

To learn more about our Chinese marks identification research services, please check out our marks reference guide - marks4ceramics - to gain unlimited access to the most comprehensive and updated list of worldwide identifying porcelain & pottery makers' marks and companies' trademarks. Our experienced specialists can also answer your questions directly for free when you need some extra guidance or have doubts (members only).

For an in-depth article related to this topic, please see: Chinese export porcelain

In addition to pages for marks & hallmarks, our research tools also include a price guide to help you appraise your collection and be certain that you are not paying high when buying or asking too low when selling. Below are a few examples.


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  • Chinese Export Porcelain Covered Dish Blue
    Canton, 19th c., a rectangular form vegetable dish with cover, applied naturalistic finial, finely painted scene in dish, attractive scene on lid, floral sprays to sides of ... [more like this]
  • Twelve Assorted Porcelain and Earthenware
    Items, seven pieces of porcelain including a gilded handled Nippon hand-painted vase, a hand-painted Nippon bowl, a Nippon jar and underplate, a hand-painted plate, two blue ... [more like this]
  • A Chinese Export Porcelain Covered Sauce
    Tureen circa 1800 having gilt double twisted handles on the base and a large pine cone finial on the cover; with a wide cobalt blue border with gilt foliate vines intersected ... [more like this]
  • ANTIQUE CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN COVERED
    VEGETABLE DISH Late 18th/Early 19th CenturyIn blue and white. Slight edge chip and hairline. Length 11. ... [more like this]
  • A Chinese Export Porcelain Part Dinner Service:
    A Chinese Export Porcelain Part Dinner Service . 19TH CENTURY . Each piece decorated with a central shield-form coat of arms in blue and gilt on a white ground, bearing the ... [more like this]
  • An assembled grouping of porcelain table
    articles 18th/19th/20th century Comprising Chinese Export porcelain tureen with animal head handles and flower finial decorated in the famille rose palette, length between ... [more like this]
  • An assembled grouping of Chinese and Japanese
    porcelain 18th/19th century Comprising group of six Chinese export Fitzhugh orange decorated porcelains, comprising pair of plates centering a coat of arms with greyhound ... [more like this]
  • Group Chinese Export porcelain table wares
    , Late 18th c., (6) pieces, incl.: a helmet-form cream jug, covered sugar pot, tea caddy with cover, blue Fitzhugh teapot and cover, medium dish, and center bowl, all initialed ... [more like this]
  • Large collection of Chinese export porcelain
    blue and white tablewares In the Canton style, comprising three pitchers, one covered vase, two covered hot water dishes, four covered vegetable dishes, two covered sauce ... [more like this]
  • CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN - (27 PCS) Chinese
    Export China for the French Market, in white with blue grapevine and gilt border, 'MV' monogram in cartouches at center of some pieces, includes deep platter, 14 3/4" (37.5 ... [more like this]
  • GEORGE III STERLING COVERED BREAKFAST DISH,
    LONDON CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN PLATTER 18TH C. CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN PLATTER, 18TH C., L 16 1/2":Having blue and white, bird, butterfly, and floral designs with gold highlights. ... [more like this]
  • 15 pcs Canton Nanking porcelain Assembled
    group of Chinese Export Canton and Nanking blue and white porcelain, including 5 plates - 3 ex-Horchow collection and 1 reticulated (6 3/4" dia. to 9 3/4" dia.), Pair of export ... [more like this]
  • Eight Chinese Export Porcelain Items, 19th
    century, including two Rose Mandarin dinner plates with 100 Antiques border, a luncheon plate decorated with flowers, fruit, and insects, the rim with a border of bats and ... [more like this]
  • Sixteen Assorted Chinese Export Porcelain
    Items, 19th century, six dinner plates with orange decoration centered with court figures with "Hundred Antiques" borders, an orange Fitzhugh pattern soup plate, (rim chip), ... [more like this]
  • CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN ARMORIAL SOAP DISH
    AND COVER, NINETEENTH CENTURY. The cover painted in puce, blue, green, iron-red and black enamels with a view of two couples in an interior and exterior, the sides with bats ... [more like this]
  • A grouping of twelve pieces of Chinese export
    porcelain 19th century Comprising lighthouse teapot and cover with sepia landscape medallion and monogram, within ribbon and foliate swagged borders, height 10in (25.5cm) ... [more like this]
  • Seventeen Blue and White Decorated Chinese
    Export Porcelain Items, 19th century, six Canton pattern covered syllabubs, leaf-shaped dish, and sauceboat; a Nanking-decorated shallow scallop-rim bowl and oval reticulated ... [more like this]
  • (25 PCS) CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN - 18th/19th
    c. Canton, in Blue Willow pattern, including: (4) Small Fish Form Bowls, 5" long; PLUS Small Oval Covered Bowl with plum form knop, 3" x 4 1/4" x 3 1/2"; PLUS Small Leaf Shaped ... [more like this]
  • Group of Chinese export porcelain early
    19th century Comprising a small covered tureen, reticulated basket, 4 dinner plates, and a small oval platter, all with matching blue and gilt leaf borders and flowering ... [more like this]
  • CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN BLUE FITZHUGH DISH
    AND COVER. Of rectangular form with canted corners, the cover with pod fi nial. Length 9 ⅜ inches. $200-$400 ... [more like this]

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