Where to buy Chinese Porcelain pieces
Posted: Mar 13, 2014
Collecting Chinese porcelain antiques requires vast knowledge, and even more money. With the culture fast catching on and collectors amassing more wealth and becoming more mobile, there is no better time to dive into this ocean if that’s your interest. More and more collectors are combing the European and American auctions and galleries hoping to stand a better chance of landing genuine Chinese antiques. However, this hardly changes the fact that a vast majority of items available for sale now are not original Qing, Ming or early republic pieces.
The Chinese market has been struggling to keep up with the demand, as in recent days the number of museums opening to house state-funded as well as privately owned collection has been on a steady rise. At the same time, huge debates are being set off regarding the authenticity of the pieces being displayed as originals, with one museum in Northern China being forced to close its doors for displaying fake wares.
The international market has not been left far behind. Ever changing import regulations have vastly affected supply streams, causing fluctuations in the prices of Chinese porcelain antiques. This has created fresh problems in China – the raiding of ancient tombs to retrieve antiques for sale. And while attempts at curbing the practice are underway, little can be done to prevent experienced craftsmen and artist from making counterfeit pieces of remarkable quality and passing them off as original pieces.
Collectors who wish to have certain pieces may acquire them at far more affordable prices when the pieces are sold as replicas of the real thing. However, attempts to pass off these Chinese porcelain antique replicas as real collectible pieces is on the rise, as much in the Western market as the eastern. To date, the porcelain ware production center is booming, with highly skilled artisans creating high quality copies of original collectible Chinese antiques from the Qing and Ming dynasties.
In order to avoid potential disillusionment from spending large sums of money on non-original antiquities, you want to consult with respectable dealers before making any purchase. Having been in the business longer and as their reputation and therefore survival are at stake, dealers take great care in appraising any items they receive for sale before displaying them. This makes them a worthy source of authentication, and even if they ask for a small commission for their service, in the long run it’s well worth it.
Where rubber meets the road, it boils down to experience, of the seller as well as the collector. Buy pieces from respectable auction houses when you are in the West, such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonham’s. Look into the experience of the auction house owners, and find out whether they rank respectably as appraisers. Avoid buying antiques online, particularly for inexperienced collectors, because the truth remains that while there are still buyers willing to part with a pretty penny for copies, the practice of passing off copies as originals will not cease.
Paul Hartford is the author of this article on Chinese Porcelain. Find more information, about Chinese Antiques here