All the three pictures: left Kangxi; right Guangxu
It is very subtle to tell the difference between Kangxi porcelain and Guangxu porcelain. They are both the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) production, althoug one is early Qing Dy and the other is late Qing Dy. Here are few tips for distinguishing the two.
The Kangxi Reign started from 1654 when the emperor was only eight years old and ended in 1722. The Kangxi Emperor is considered to be one of the greatest Chinese Emperors in history. His reign is also one of the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. Accordingly, the porcelain of this period is arguably the best of the Qing Dynasty. Guangxu Reign lasted from 1875-1908, with several years of properity called "Guangxu resurgence". Lots of procelain produced during this period were copied from the Kangxi porcelain. Many of them even have the faux Kangxi reign marks. So it's crucial to separate the fake ones from the authentic ones.
First, the pictures on Kangxi porcelain are mostly pen-paintings with simple sketch but accurate expression. Guangxu porcelain is more likely to have brush painting pictures and lacking of hiberarchy. (pic 2)
Secondly, Kangxi porcelain is usually made from very refined high quality porcelain clay. It's very solid and displays white shining colour. Guangxu porcelain often has light yellowish colour and quite often with flaws and overglaze. (pic 1 & 2)
Finally, Kangxi porcelain ususally has a clear round bottom while Guangxu porcelain often has glazing defects on the bottom and sometimes the lines are kind of blurred.
Bear this in mind you might be able to tell some difference between the two porcelains by now. But the real appraisal is still heavily dependent on personal experience and knowledge.
How to distinguish Kangxi and Guangxu porcelain
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21 January 2008
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