Buyer Beware- Kangxi Porcelain

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Buyer Beware- Kangxi Chinese Porcelain
Genuine Kangxi porcelain was originally manufactured during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1661- 1722), and is amongst the greatest Chinese porcelain ever made.  Chinese porcelain went through a period of decline as the Ming Dynasty slowly disintegrated and the Qing Dynasty began the conquest of China.  During this turbulent period the standard of porcelain manufacture declined without the steady hand of Imperial interest to assure high standards.  Under the Kangxi Emperor standards improved dramatically with superior blues and dazzling whites becoming hallmarks of fine Chinese wares made for home use as well as for export.  Genuine Kangxi can be hard to identify if you lack the knowledge of the marks used by the potters and the tell-tale characteristics of the porcelain itself.  Kangxi is characterised by several different marks as the Imperial Kilns at Jingdezhen were in a state of flux during the early part of the Emperor's reign.  The six character marks are often seen today on the earlier 18th century porcelain, as well as later "copies" made during the 19th and 20th centuries when Kangxi wares were much admired and emulated.  Ebay is full of "Kangxi" ware with only FOUR character marks, which was NOT a mark used during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor.  If you buy something described as "Kangxi" and it only has FOUR Chinese characters on the base, you are buying a 19th or even 20th Century reproduction.  The only known exception to this rule of thumb are vastly superior pieces (with astronomical prices!) with FOUR characters contained within a double square on the base.  These were made specifically for use of the Imperial Palace and are extremely rare.  So BUYER BEWARE- there are several unscrupulous/ unknowledgeable sellers on Ebay taking large sums of money for pieces that are NOT what they are described as being. 

See the excellent website gotheborg.com/marks/qingmarks.shtml
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