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The Comparison of the Real and Fake Ceramics


Porcelain is one of the great inventions of ancient China. The production of ceramics began 8000 years ago, since when numerous famous kilns have flourished. A particularly interesting development occurred between the end of the Yuan dynasty and the beginning of the Ming dynasty. At that time, in response to demand, a concerted attempt was made by the kilns to reproduce the ceramic wares of the past. The popularity of imitations may have arisen out of a veneration for antiquity, or from a love of the craftsmanship involved, or just because the kilns had an eye for a potentially profitable venture. Huge quantities of reproductions were made in the Ming dynasty and afterwards in three notable periods of growth: during the reigns of the Qing emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong; in the late Qing dynasty; and after the 1980s. The reproductions were of many kinds, some of which were such excellent copies that they were indistinguishable from the originals, thus posing considerable difficulty in authentication by today's researchers and experts. To facilitate comparison and contrast of the real and the fake, we have chosen some representative pieces from the collection of the Palace Museum for display.

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