Monday, December 29, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - The Dragon of Lao Tian Li 老天利, continued

eBay vendor antiques143 has on offer a round box decorated with dragons and signed by
Lao Tian Li 老天利 .  

Once upon a time this box had a companion - as antiques143 sadly relates, 

"I wish I could show you the other box I had from this maker. It was imperial yellow and of much better quality, but it was stolen by an antique dealer who had come to appraise several items of mine. It was similar to the one I have listed now, only a little larger and with a greater quality of workmanship. I have not seen another that matched its beauty. It had been in my collection for more than 20 years."

Going through my files, I notice I've harvested from the internet quite a few pictures of pieces with Lao Tian Li signatures.  Is anyone interested in seeing these?  Should I do a blog post about them?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - 1980s Brochure About JINGFA 京 珐 Brand Cloisonne Beijing Enamel Factory 北京珐琅厂

Presumably this was printed sometime after 1981, as it features an award won in that year.
Thought it might be useful for those trying to discover what varieties of cloisonne were made in the 1980s. 
Plus, a fascinating video of the Beijing Enamel Factory showing just how difficult it is to create cloisonne enamel: (Skip to 3:00 to avoid the puppet stuff intro)

Check out the differences in the staff clothing, work areas, and technology between the 1980s brochure and the 2013 video.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - The Mysterious TianHe 天合 Mark on Chinese Cloisonne

Trying to match cloisonne motifs to what appears on cloisonne beads leads to some interesting detours.  This mark shows up on a cloisonne pieces that have some distinctive characteristics, all of which seem to pre-date the style of JingFa factory products.  
When were they made? 1920-30s? 1950-60s?
And where?  Beijing?  Tianjin?  Somewhere else?

UPDATE: Another three-dragon vase was discovered by an eBay vendor.  See August 17, 2015 post for more pictures.  This vase has what is likely a pre-1950 country of origin stamp.

UPDATE: Two more examples have turned up:

Ginger jar

Another figural jar from private collection of E.N.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - An Unusual Miriam Haskell Style Necklace With Chinese Beads

Suzanne at her Etsy shop MaisonettedeMadness is offering a necklace with some fascinating Chinese beads:
The clasp and style of findings are very Miriam Haskell.

The openwork disk bead in the center can be seen in this similar collection of pendants from an online auction:
Note the openwork bead second from the left in the bottom row.
Three similar pendants were combined in another 1930s necklace with a chain similar to Suzanne's necklace.  
Openwork cloisonne beads with a similar flower pattern seem to cluster in the Art Deco Era:

UPDATE: a recent eBay sale featured one of these Haskell-attributed necklaces with a charm cap similar to the one in Maisonnette's, plus other interesting cloisonne beads, including 4-toed dragons: