05 Nov 2019

Ten Attributes Of Aging Marks Of Antique Ceramics

In the world of antiques, there are the genuine ones and of course, imitations. In such a profitable market like the distributing of antiques, many want to pass their own ceramics off as the real one.


So as a collector, how do you distinguish the work of modern technology attempting to make ceramics look old, against the physical manifestation of natural ageing?

The most indisputable way is to use technology – which is convenient and yet convincing.

At its core, antique ceramics are created by the combination of natural water, fire and soil. Over time, the result is not just the external appearance of beautiful warmth and simplicity. It is the interior of the carcass and glazes among other things.

It’s ageing and transformation also happens according to its own laws which is distinctly different from something manufactured.

If you’re able to grasp the skill to observe the ageing of the ceramic glaze, the transformation of the bubbles, how the colour ages, you’ll be able to distinguish the new against the ancient ceramics.

This ancient ceramic ageing identification technology, approved by the Ministry of Public Security in China, should be promoted and applied in all identification of ancient ceramics.

The 10 types of ageing identification standards are listed as follows: corrosion lines, geometric figures, corrosion holes, corrosion plaques, glaze shedding, discolouration, broken bubbles, corroded netting, precipitation, glazed mixture.

The characteristics of the ageing marks of the glaze can be observed through microscopic mirrors, and the topographical features of the ten kinds of ageing marks can be understood and replicated with other ceramics.

1. Corrosion Line
Corrosion line, rupture foam, calcification plaque coexist (200x)
Corrosion lines, pits, atomised spots, and mesh lines coexist (200x)
2. Geometric Figures

The Geometry of the Green Surface, Radiation Geometry (200x), Yuan Blue-and-White
3. Corrosion Pits
Song Blue Glazed, Corrosion Holes (200x)

Song Longquan Kiln, Corrosion Holes (200x)
Song Ru Kiln, Corrosion Holes (200x)
4. Corrosion Plaques
Coexistence of under-glaze radiation spots and corrosion lines (500x)
5. Glaze Shedding
Existence of the shedding of glaze (200x)
6. Discolorization of Bubbles

Air bubbles on the glazed surface of various ceramics (200x)
7. Broken Bubbles
Partially broken bubble phenomenon in Song ceramic (200x)
Broken bubbles in 5 Dynasty Ceramics (500x)
8. Corroded Netting
Yuan Blue-and-white beaded netting, and calcified white spots coexist (200x)

Ageing mesh traces on Song Jun Kiln ceramic (200x)
9. Precipitation
Salt Crystals on the underglaze (200x)
The appearance of Salt Crystals (200x)
10. Glaze mixture and crystallisation
Glaze mixture (500x)
Different types of scar marks on Song Jun Kiln Ceramic (200x)
Different types of scar marks on Yuan Blue-and-White Ceramic (200x)
Different types of scar marks on Song Ru Kiln Ceramic (200x)
Co-existence of Glaze blend and Crystallization (500x)

The identification of ageing marks in ancient ceramics is based on molecular motion as understood in physics. High powered microscopes can be used to observe the material appearances of these ageing marks. Combined with the chemical analysis in materials science, molecular motion in physics, fingerprinting principles, the DNA of ancient ceramics can be obtained.

Under the state of current scientific and technology, the science of identifying ancient ceramics with data and marks is relatively complete and considered the ideal method for identifying.

Of course, the best forms of identification is to combine the traditional methods of identification with modern techniques.

Here’s my suggested formula for identifying ancient ceramics:

Macro (Contemporary art of that dynasty + Historical Background Information + Characteristics of each Kiln + information around the unearthing) + Micro (Identifying marks and scientific characteristics)

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