Chinese art is one of the most revered forms of craft in the world. In fact, in this article by CNN, it details how Chinese ceramic pieces were valued at millions at an auction.
2010 and 2011 were record breaking years for chines art sold at auctions, but recent years has been catching up. Sotheby's sold a 18th-century Chinese teapot for $3.5 million in an Asia auction that raised more than $60 million. This was in 2016
The demand for antique Chinese art is both a good and bad thing for collectors and sellers alike. It is good because those who own precious and antique Chinese art can potentially earn some money for them. But it is bad because it can also result in the rise of counterfeit items, which would make it more challenging for those who own authentic Chinese art to sell them.
If you have an old Chinese artwork that you wish to sell, it is important that you understand how these items are valuated. By educating yourself, you will be in a much better position to negotiate or sell these items at a price that is favorable to you.
The oldest known Chinese painting dates back to the 481-221 BC. Therefore, it is a testament to how long the Chinese art scene has been established. These paintings had various subject forms that included landscapes, battles, and mythological creatures, to name a few. These paintings were done on a variety of materials such as silk, stone, brick, and rock.
There are many collectors of antique Chinese paintings in the world. The level of craftsmanship and the technique exhibited by these artworks make them highly coveted. The landscape paintings became so popular during the age of the Five Dynasties. In fact, it was known as “The Great Age of Chinese Landscape”.
Other popular types of Chinese paintings depicted the following subjects: folk, still life, daily life, Shan Shui, Shui Mo Hua, and Guo Hua.
The value of the antique paintings could also be influenced by the presence (or lack of) the following accessories: carry case, frame, bracket, and hook.
Pottery is another popular form of art in China. For the avid collectors of ancient Chinese pottery or sculpture, there are many types to choose from that also differ in their corresponding market value. Porcelain is the most popular material used for making ancient pots and jars. These ancient pieces require great skill, craftsmanship, and time to make. Therefore, they are highly valued for a combination of these factors.
Carved wood is another type of ancient Chinese antique that is highly coveted in the market. Like pottery, this art form requires advanced skill and craftsmanship. There are common motifs in Chinese wooden carvings such as animals, geometric designs, scenes of daily life, and fighting warriors.
The bronze coins that are highly collected today originate in China from the time of the Xia Dynasty (around 2070 BCE). These bronze items can be in the form of chess pieces, bronze seals, and coins. The bronze seals are highly valued because they were often used in written documents by the royal family or political leaders in China.
The religious influence in Chinese art is highly evident with most of the subject matter used. One such example is the prevalence of Buddha statues. Buddhism is one of the major religions in China; therefore, there are a variety of Buddha statues that were produced ranging from small to life size ones! Not only are these statues recognized for the artistic value but they hold a religious and sacred importance for the Buddhists that own them.
Read more about Asian Buddhas in our buddha category
To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to determine the authenticity of an antique Chinese antique. If you own a piece, you need to prove its authenticity by checking for signs of age and the artist signature. It is also recommended that you seek out an expert appraiser who can check the item for you. These expert appraisers, especially those trained with antique Chinese art, can validate your item for you.
Provenance research is an important step in determining the value of antique Chinese art. It adds to the credibility of a particular artwork, too. As antique art pieces from China had been passed down from generation to generation, it is possible that the item has been under the possession of someone important or famous throughout the years. If this is the case on your antique Chinese art piece, it is important to have documentation to support that so you can get highest possible appraisal for it. Avid antique collectors won’t be interested in buying an antique item with an airtight history. You need to be able to provide some proof about its authenticity and provenance.
Any piece of antique should be given proper care to preserve its integrity. For antique vessels such as vases, pots, and bottles, they should be kept in a safe storage and enclosed in protective case. This will keep them in good shape and at lesser risk of being damaged by contact.
For paintings, they should be hung and placed somewhere they are not in direct contact with the sunlight. A cool, dry place is also highly recommended. If possible, you need to minimize handling of these items as the natural oils from the body can cause the fabric or paper to become yellowish over time.
If there are any signs of damage or wear on the antique Chinese art, you should never attempt to repair it. Doing so will only de-value the antique item. Always consult with a specialist first if you are unsure about something.
There are several ways to get an appraisal for your item. The most convenient and less pricy is getting an online appraisal. When uploading your item to Mearto.com we forward your Chinese art to an appraiser that specializes in Chinese art so you can be sure that the Specialist is qualified to appraise your item.
If you don't mind the drive, then going to a local appraiser near you is also an option. We have collected all appraisers in our appraiser directory, to make it convenient for you to find an appraiser near you.
We recommend calling the appraiser first to make sure they are qualified to appraise your item.
There are many factors that contribute to the value of an antique Chinese art. From its overall condition, provenance, and the type of antique artwork itself, you can only determine its value with the help of an antique expert. At Mearto, our antique experts can help appraise any item in your possession so you can determine how much to sell it for (if you decide to do so).
Get in touch with us today to have your antique Chinese antiques appraised!
Click the "Get Started" button below to set up a free account.
Answer a few simple questions and upload images of your item.
Receive a specialist's valuation by email in 24 to 48 hours.
Get help with the next steps, including consignment and sale.
Lindsey Bourret is the Managing Director at Mearto. In addition to overseeing the daily operations of the business, she also enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of the fine art and antiques market with our customers through our website, blog, e-newsletter and social media accounts.