How to Buy Antique Chinese Porcelain Plates

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How to Buy Antique Chinese Porcelain Plates

Owning a Chinese antique can give a buyer the opportunity to have an object that lets them interact with the past directly. China’s long and culturally rich history means that many of the artefacts and antiques produced by this nation are sought after. China is one of the oldest civilizations and therefore, owning a Chinese antique porcelain plate can be like owning a piece of history.

China has always been at the forefront of technology and innovation and the ancient Chinese are credited with numerous inventions that today are still essential household items. The Chinese antique porcelain plate is a prime example of this. Chinese porcelain, with its translucent facade and decorative veneers, has become so popular in the western world that in many places it is referred to simply as ‘china’. This is an indication of how revered the Chinese antique porcelain plate is across the world.

This guide will provide any person interested in buying an antique Chinese porcelain plate an insight into various aspects of the purchase, from the history behind the item to factors to consider in making a purchase and how to effectively search for the product on eBay.

History of the Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

When pottery was first invented in China in the Neolithic period (5000-2200 BC), it was to be the start of a long and illustrious history of ceramic production. During the early years, the pieces being produced were in the form of painted or carved pottery, but by the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), the ancient Chinese had begun to glaze their ceramics for the purpose of strengthening, waterproofing and decorating.

It was during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) that the decoratively intricate and translucent porcelain was first discovered. Porcelain is produced when feldspar, quartz, pottery stone and kaolin are combined at temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 degrees. It was fired in kilns for decorative purposes, layering cobalt or enamel to fuse to the porcelain to create the effects that have become coveted by long-time collectors and newcomers alike.

The Chinese antique porcelain plate quickly became a popular and sought-after item in Chinese society and to this day, it remains a choice for buyers across the world.

Discover the Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

A plate is an item so deeply woven into the fabric of human society that it is taken for granted. A genuine piece that is in good condition can be a rare and valuable find. Such a piece can be displayed at home and buyers can start to build a collection. Alternatively, buyers could also be interested in the investment value of an antique Chinese porcelain plate. The longer an antique piece is kept in good condition, the more its value will increase over time. Given the active market for Chinese porcelain in the West and in Asia, a plate in good condition will indeed be a good buy for the long term.

Materials Used to Make an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

The invention of porcelain changed the aesthetics of the world. From day-to-day household utensils to art work, it was a major breakthrough at the time and set the benchmark for other cultures to strive toward. Here are the materials that go into the making of an antique Chinese porcelain plate:




Kaolin is a naturally-occurring clay mineral. It gives porcelain its shiny veneer.


Feldspar is a rock-forming mineral. In the production of porcelain, it changes the thermal properties of the ceramic mix.

Pottery Stone

This must be grounded before being added to the clay and is formed by igneous rock.


It stabilises the ceramic mix and is a mineral found in the earth’s crust.

Types of Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

The antique Chinese porcelain plate has been developed over thousands of years and through various dynasties. Here is a list of some of the types of antique Chinese porcelain plates.





Ding ware

Elegant shape and ornate decoration.

Often stamped or marked, easy to pick out.

Edges often remained unglazed due to kiln techniques.

Ru ware

Made in an array of colours, often with a greenish tint.

Considered to be a high point in terms of quality.

Produced for imperial use in Northern China.

Jun ware

Usually has a purple and turquoise glaze.

Robust and strong.

Considered to sturdy rather than beautiful.

Guan ware

Translucent with a blue finish.

Extremely sought after.

Its popularity means that these types of wares are prone to be replicated.

Blue and white ware

Usually coloured in vibrant blue and white.

Highly decorative

A popular method of production throughout the ages.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

There are certain considerations that buyer should make before purchasing an antique Chinese porcelain plate.

  • Research -The buyer should do research and get to know the markets for antique Chinese porcelain plates. This research will equip the buyer with the thorough information that will enable the purchasing of an antique Chinese porcelain plate a smoother process.
  • Condition -It is imperative that the buyer knows the exact condition of the antique Chinese porcelain plate that they are considering purchasing. If there is any damage to the plate, no matter how slight, it will significantly decrease its value. The buyer should check all of the photos provided carefully and if the photos are not clear enough or do not cover the whole of the plate, the buyer should ask for more photos.
  • Ask question - It is advised that the buyer asks as many pertinent questions as they can think of. The seller will be accustomed to this and will be happy to help. Asking these questions will give the buyer a better chance of ensuring that the item will be an authentic piece of antique.
  • Budget – A budget is often the deciding factor in a potential purchase and finding a hidden gem online is possible with some research and patience. Look at purchasing pieces that are of higher quality as those tend to increase in value at a more consistent rate.

Typical Features of an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

Chinese antique porcelain platescan be different in design and form. Here is a list of some typical features of an antique Chinese porcelain plate.

  1. Colour

Antique Chinese porcelain plates are known for being highly decorative with intricate colour schemes.

  1. Design

As production and techniques developed, results improved. The quality of an antique Chinese porcelain plate will vary, as will the price.

  1. Uniqueness

Antique Chinese porcelain plate-makers had great pride in their work. As each piece was made by hand, every antique plate will have completely unique designs or decorations

How to Care for an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

Due to their age, antique Chinese porcelain plates can be fragile. An antique Chinese porcelain plate should always be handled with extreme care. They can break easily, so minimal handling is advised.

If a buyer decides to clean their antique Chinese porcelain plate they should do so with plenty of care. A soft brush or cloth should be used and no abrasive material should ever be used on an antique Chinese porcelain plate.

Accessories for an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate

If a buyer is serious about the purchase of an antique Chinese porcelain plate, there are certain items that they should consider getting.

  • Display case – Preferably in glass, a display case will significantly reduce the potential of the antique Chinese porcelain plate from suffering any damage.
  • Plate stand – This is something that the plate will stand on while in the display case. It will ensure that the antique Chinese porcelain plate is securely held. It will also allow the plate to show off its designs and decorations.
  • Carry case – It is important that an antique Chinese porcelain plate is cared for during transportation. An appropriate case or box should help to transport the antique Chinese porcelain plate.
  • Soft cloth or brush – These could be suitable for cleaning or dusting an antique Chinese porcelain plate.

Finding an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate on eBay

Once you determine the type of antique Chinese porcelain plate you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal on eBay, then click ‘Chinese’ and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for an Antique Chinese Porcelain Plate on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for an antique Chinese porcelain plate. For example, to find a blue and white Chinese porcelain plate, type ‘blue and white Chinese porcelain plate’ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on searching for an antique Chinese porcelain plate with keywords. If you can’t find the exact antique Chinese porcelain plate that you want, try shopping eBay Stores.


With its rich and colourful history of producing quality porcelain goods, China has given the world many sought-after antiques. The Chinese antique porcelain plate is most definitely one of these and its popularity is unlikely to wane.

Once you have collected all of the relevant information, you can buy an antique Chinese porcelain plate safely and securely on eBay.

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