|As early as the Shang dynasty
( about 3,000 years ago), the chinese potters began production of proto-porcelain.
By the Eastern Han period, mature green-glazed porcelains were produced.
The green glaze was brilliant and glossy. During the century from
the Three Kingdoms to Western Jin (220-316), the kilns of Zhejiang produced
large amount of greenwares. Many vessels took on animal-form such
as candle stands which looked like the sheep or lion, lamps which looked
like bears, as well as bird cups, chicken-head ewers and frog-like cups.
They were both artistic and functional. Large amount funerary wares such
as modelled granaries, stoves, wells, mills were also produced to
meet the ostentacious and extravagant burial custom then.
There are some general features common to greenwares
produced in Zhejiang region. The body material is pale grey and close-grained.
Most of the vessels were supported with small lumps of clays as spurs to
prevent the pottery from sticking to the kiln floor during firing.
As a result, base had pale patches haloed in reddish brown (see below picture).
The glaze tended to be uneven (with varying thickness) and the color can
vary from brownish yellow to greyish green depending on whether the reduction
firing atmosphere is successful (see below picture).
There were some imitations of Jin greenware found during the early 20th century basically due to the demands from the western countries. However, the best imitations were made in the last two decades. The chinese have carried out many scientific analysis of the body and glaze material used for Yue ware. Many experiments were carried out to reproduce the old greenwares. The aim of the researchers were to rediscover the technology and method to produce early greenwares. Unfortunately, because of the commercial value of the old pieces, it ended up as tools for production of fakes. One favourite targetted category is those animal-form vessels.
I have selected the below imitation of a lion-shaped candle holder to highlight some differences between the old and new pieces:
I hope the above would be of some help to new collectors.