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The Chinese Ceramics Market: The Art of Blue-White in the 15th Century

Updated: Apr 3

Chinese ceramics from the 15th century are an exceptional testament to the cultural richness of China. This period corresponds to the Ming dynasty, which produced pieces of ceramic of exceptional quality. Blue and white porcelain, in particular, was very popular at this time and has become one of the most sought-after forms of art worldwide, with the production of some of the most beautiful and sophisticated pieces that we currently encounter on the Asian art market. Different shapes and sizes, ranging from vases and bowls to plates and platters, Ming pieces often have an elegant and balanced shape, with a smooth and even surface.

The colors of blue are an important element in the decoration of rooms during this period. The blue enamel used was created from cobalt oxide, imported from Persia during the Ming dynasty, through the Silk Road exchanges. Blue was applied on a white porcelain base to create a variety of patterns, such as dragons, clouds, lotus flowers and other geometric and floral shapes. The patterns were often created with great precision, which is a testament to the skill of Chinese artisans. The manufacturing technique was also very advanced, in order to produce high-quality pieces. The pieces were fired at high temperatures in specially designed kilns for this task. In addition, the artisans used a glazing technique to create a smooth and shiny surface on the porcelain. This glazing technique allowed for the porcelain to be protected against chips and scratches.

Chinese 15th century ceramics is a highly sought after form of art by collectors and art enthusiasts around the world. Over the last 20 years, the Chinese ceramics market has seen a dramatic increase in prices, particularly for pieces from the Ming dynasty. Pieces from the Imperial Kilns, produced for the Court, have often been sold for very high prices at auctions, some reaching several million dollars. This increase in prices can be attributed to the rarity of these pieces, as well as the cultural and historical significance of Chinese 15th century ceramics.

Notable examples of 15th century pieces that have achieved record results on the international art market :

  • A rare blue and white porcelain bowl, featuring a design of fish among lotus, mark and period of XuanDe, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong for the amount of 229,037,500 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.

  • Very important blue and white porcelain vase, featuring a lotus flower decoration, mark and period ChengHua, sold at Sotheby's New York for the sum of 2,895,000 USD.. Photo: Sotheby's.

  • A very rare blue and white porcelain dish, featuring a lotus flower decoration, marked and dated ChengHua, sold at Christie's for the sum of 389,000 USD. Photo: Christie's.

These examples demonstrate how valuable and sought-after Chinese blue-and-white ceramics from the 15th century are around the world. Collectors and art enthusiasts appreciate the beauty and finesse of these pieces, as well as their cultural and historical importance.It is also important to note that the quality of Chinese ceramics from the 15th century varies greatly. The rarest and most sought-after pieces are those that were produced by the most talented and qualified artisans of the Ming era. These pieces are often very detailed and are characterized by great finesse and precision in the patterns.

Despite the high demand, there have been concerns about counterfeiting of 15th century Chinese ceramics, and replicas of famous pieces have been sold to collectors at high prices. To avoid this, potential buyers as well as sellers of such pieces must be very cautious and make sure of the authenticity of the pieces. Our Cabinet is at your disposal to appraise your Chinese pieces.

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