One of the most common hobbies in the world is collecting stuff. It can be from collecting pretty mundane stuff like bottle caps to very expensive antique collections. Both are equally challenging and fulfilling in their own rights. However, in a very expensive hobby like collecting Chinese pottery, the challenge is checking for authenticity. If you are a seller or a buyer, you must have enough knowledge to distinguish fakes from authentic pieces. Some people think that gaining such expertise would take decades to perfect. Well, yes and no. Yes because you need enough experience to fully become a real expert and no because you can always start today and appraise your first piece in a few months. Want to know how?
Basic Tips in Collecting Chinese Pottery
1. Start a library- If you are really decided in devoting yourself to this craft, you don't need to go buy your first piece right away. Start with creating a library all about Chinese pottery. Books about history and other things related to the craft will be essential in your study. Also, they may contain pictures that can help you get an idea of what the real thing looks like so you can easily distinguish it in the future. Having a wealth of knowledge is, needless to say, necessary in order to succeed in collecting Chinese pottery.
2. Know More- As soon as you get in the groove, you will realize that the books in your library will never be enough in terms of information. To supplement this quench for more knowledge, you can visit your local library or museums. If you decide to go to museums, you will not only gain knowledge but also see the actual pieces. Also, you can gather bits of information from online forums dedicated to antique Chinese pottery. Just beware of some information there because it may be false or have no intellectual or factual basis.
3. Learn to identify copies- These days, there are many copies of antique Chinese pottery around the market. They are sometimes created as a perfect copy of the original pieces and only thermoluminescence testing can really judge the authenticity of these pieces. As you learn, you will know of some "valuable copies" that were made to honor a certain style or period.
4. Study Chinese calligraphy- You may think this is rather out of place, but learning Chinese calligraphy is an invaluable skill that will help you in your collection. Because some Chinese pottery has certain Chinese characters written in them, you can easily check for authenticity or even the age and origin of a specific item. It will not be necessary but learning how to write and not just read will be of an advantage to you. With this knowledge, you can easily see faults in the strokes and thus be able to detect fakes easily.
Learn to read visual properties- This is one of the key skills one must have in order to prosper in this craft. When a person knows how to read visual properties like lines, cracks, chips and wear, can easily use these clues in appraising or identifying a certain item. For some, these visual details give life and character to their antiques. Seeing them is not always a bad thing unless it totally destroys the whole thing.