You have your Chinese pot in hand and want it to last forever. You can enhance the pot's appearance and prolong its life by observing a few helpful hints. The pot's contents determine how to care for it satisfactorily, and it requires minimal maintenance from the owner.
Wooden Chinese Pots
A wooden Chinese pot has a natural patina which helps authenticate its age. You do not want to remove this thin layer of built-up dirt. Never use a spray furniture polish, instead, apply a paste wax such as beeswax, and buff after drying to remove any excess residue. Many wooden Chinese pots have ornate scrollwork on the surface which requires removing dirt and wax from crevices. Fluctuations in temperature may cause the wood to crack, so run a dehumidifier or humidifier, depending on your specific environmental conditions.
Owning Chinese porcelain means the pot underwent a series of high-heat treatments to the clay exterior before adding a surface glaze as a sealer. The outside of the pot has a translucent sheen referred to as fine china, and requires gentle treatment to sustain the high-gloss shine. Dust the pot with a soft microfibre cloth making sure to never use window cleaning products, as the chemicals are too harsh. Fill the pot with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild dish detergent to make a soapy solution. Dip a sponge into the pot and gently rub the inside and outside, including the bottom and handles (if they exist), and then dry with a towel thoroughly. Remove stains from the porcelain by dipping several cotton swabs in a 20 per cent solution of hydrogen peroxide that has several drops of aluminium added. Place the pot and swabs in an air-tight bag, and repeat the process until the stain lifts. Store your pot behind glass as dust is detrimental to the surface, but clean routinely even when isolated from the environment.
Bronze Chinese Pots
Another antiquity, a bronze Chinese pot, develops a greenish patina, but do not remove it. If the patina becomes dull, apply microcrystalline wax with a soft-bristled brush such as a makeup brush, which also helps resist fingerprints and water. A light dusting suffices in most circumstances to keep your bronze in tip-top shape. Should your bronze pot contain green spots, not part of normal patina wear, consult a professional conservator to resolve condition issues that you cannot fix by waxing or dusting.