Fan Jian Jing- Fake is still pretty nice.
The Fan Jian Jing is a maze of back alleys in downtown Jingdezhen where the business of faking Chinese antiquities has been perfected. Ceramics, wood, scrolls, stamps, furniture, you name it, they fake it. Some of them are so bad that you can tell from 10 ft away that they are not real. At times though, they are convincing enough that a pottery geek can still get excited.
The pictures above are Song-Jian Ware (black tea bowl), Ming style replicas (blue, red, yellow), Song-Longquan ware (celedon pots on the metal shelves), and Tang dynasty San Cai ware. The last images are of the methods they use to "age" the pots. Mixtures of dyes and iron bearing-dirt are rubbed into the surface of the pots. The craftspeople are very open about this whole process. You can see men rubbing pots with broken kiln shelves to intentionally chip their edges.
As a one time pottery snob I was surprised that this process of fakery doesn't bother me. It meets a simple supply/demand curve. People love these pots. I love these pots. After seeing so many of them in books throughout the years it was great to pick up the 3-d versions. On some level I could relate more the fake 3d versions than the 2d ones I've looked at over and over. I can imagine these fake antique markets are a huge problem for museums. They must run across many collections that have more than a few fakes in their official lists.
Pier One, Pottery Barn, and Walmart could be stocking their shelves with these knock-offs instead of the hodgepodge of cheap contemporary mass produced pottery. If we are going to engage in the thrill/downfall of a global economy, why not educate people as we go? Think about a time were every consumer could recognize a Song dynasty glaze because a antique replica was the featured image on the Walmart weekly coupon mailer.
I got to see many replicas of the five spouted Longquan Jar from the Song Dynasty, 960 AD-1279AD. I believe this famous form can be linked to the inspiration for many potters who are currently making flower bricks/ tulipieres. Before I leave China I have to get one of these. Actually, Ill probably get a bunch. I would love to have a Tang Horse and a Song Lotus petal bowl to round out the collection.
Here is one of the original Longquan jars that I recently saw at the Shanghai Museum.