Porcelain

Our range of porcelain varies over the years as we hunt down rare and exceptional ceramics, both antique and modern.  

Our Johannesburg collection of Asian ceramics is extensive and well-worth a visit by collectors, antique dealers, or anyone with an eye for beauty, or an interest in ceramic history. We've sent some gorgeous pieces, and quite a bit of stock, down to our Cape Town branch, and it is well worth a visit.

Porcelain has been made in China since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD). 

When Porcelain first came to Europe in about the 15th Century, it was as rare as it was expensive, and antique wares were often set in silver and gold.  A genuine antique 15th Century Ming vase standing several feet high, would today be worth about six million Rand. 

The oriental reverence for tradition and antiquity is clear in the meticulous reproduction of antique porcelain wares which remain essentially unchanged to this day.  Even the places of manufacture have not changed for more than 500 years.  Glazes are still painted on by hand, with simple bamboo brushes, using the same minimalist, expressive, brushstrokes.  

Transfers, invented in Europe during the 19th Century, have in turn found their way back to China, and are still used in decorating porcelain today.  Close examination will reveal whether a piece has been hand decorated, transferred or a combination of the two. 

The major porcelain dynasties are: 

1- Tang (618 – 906 AD)

2- Ming (1368 – 1644 AD) 

3- Qing dynasty (1644-1912)

There is a great deal of fascinating information on this subject, but most of it written as if the various porcelain periods can be clearly delineated with a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

This is misleading. A lot of wares are passed off as antiques when they are clearly contemporary. And a lot of contemporary wares are condemned as fakes, when they have been in continuous production for hundreds of years. They may not be antiques, but they are not being made to deceive anyone.

While particular styles and manufacturing innovations can be traced to their origins, once a design or technique had been invented, it then tended to stay in production. 

The fact is that porcelain is still being made today in China.  Many of our porcelain wares are made for the modern Japanese market, and are wonderful examples of an age-old tradition of master-craftsmanship.   

We have a few antiques, but ironically, genuine antiques tend to present themselves as humble pieces. These antiques hold the feel of a bygone era, but are not at all glamorous in themselves.

All porcelain addicts and antique hunters should know about the following site.  It cannot be too highly recommended.  We visit it all the time to marvel and learn: http://gotheborg.com/index.htm


Chinese and related Porcelain
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