Saturday, November 15, 2014

Puzzling Evidence: 凤凰 The Fenghuang, or Chinese Phoenix in Cloisonne - An Early-1900s Urn

Last December I did an analysis of the Fenguang, or Chinese Phoenix, as it appears in cloisonne beads.

eBay vendor jpeister2012 has on offer a beautiful urn from early in the 1900s that presents an excellent example of a traditional rendition of the phoenix motif.  The rocks are in the style of those done by famous Chinese cloisonne artist Lao Tian Li 老天利, although this urn is unsigned. The country of origin stamp "CHINA" was required on items imported into the United States after the 1890 McKinley Tariff Act.

The listing description reads:
This Brass and Cloisonne Urn has been in my family for almost 100 years. It stands almost 17.5 inches tall with out the decorative wood base (separate) and is heavy in weight. It has been looked at by Walter Kolenda from the "Antiques Road Show". His comment is below.
Sept. 24, 2014

"That is an exceptional cloisonne urn. I say urn rather than vase, because it has a cover. An urn is generally a bit more valuable and rare because of this. There are several things going for this beautiful piece: First, the work is amazing, next, it's a large size and that does matter with something like this. Next, is that it appears to be in excellent condition, which is wonderful for a piece of this era, (circa turn of the 20th century)

Also, it is pure Chinese design, what I mean here is that the most revered form of Chinese art is nature and this is a wonderful example of that." "Retail value I set at $2250.00. If you have documentation to the providence, it's worth even more"

Walt Kolenda