Chinese Reproductions Identification & Marks

Chinese antiques have perhaps been reproduced more than any other type, and the trade continues today with pieces readily available on websites such as Alibaba and eBay.  Most items are made simply as decorative reproductions without intent to deceive, although there are of course also deliberate forgeries.  One of the big problems is that Chinese items have been reproduced for around 150 years or more, so many reproductions are antiques in their own right, and these can be harder to distinguish from the originals. Using older marks to honour previous generations is also common and can also cause confusion.

The most common reproductions or modern representations of older items you are likely to see include porcelain, pottery, bronze and cloisonne.  At any one time you will find that most such items offered as antiques on online sales venues are actually relatively modern, so do take care when purchasing.

Buyers should also note that Chinese items commonly use older reign marks in honour of past Emperors, so the presence of such a mark or seal should not be taken as an indication of age.  Indeed the vast majority of items with reign marks on online marketplaces are not of the original period.


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Common generic marks :

手工製作 : Shǒugōng zhìzuò - Hand crafted or Hand Made

中国制造  :  Made in China - seen on 20th century items, mostly post WW2

玉  :  Yu (jade) - Sometimes seen on Kangxi items, more common on reproductions


Marks from actual items

 Chinese double happiness Xǐ  



 Huarong Tang Zhi 華禁堂製 - Huá jìn táng zhì - This factory originally produced high quality porcelain often with bronze mounts during the late Qing and early Republican period.  There seem to be well made reproductions coming to market which look convincing aside they use colour schemes not associated with the original factory.  This mark from a bowl with bronze base, by kind permission of Liana.
chinese style satsuma ware mark 手工製作 - 中国制造  (Shǒugōng zhìzuò - Zhōngguó zhìzào) Hand crafted and Made in China, the latter being an old form of writing this.  From a large temple jar in the Satsuma style, made before such items started making claim to be Satsuma.  Click the mark to see the item in full.



 Ming style reproductions Seal script style character as a logo - Jingdezhen Youngs Ceramic Co, China.   Decorative ceramics in the Ming and other dynasty styles, authentic looking and usually nicely made, not intended to deceive.  Items often seen in online marketplaces.  Factory still in operation as of 2021.
jingdezhen porcelain vase mark 景德镇制 - Jingdezhen made.  Blue & white landscape temple jar.  Decorative item not intended as a fake, nicely decorated with style cues from the Republican period.  Priced approx $45 ex works in 2021.  Click mark to see full image. 



chinese satsuma vase  中制造 Made in China (Zhōngguó zhìzào).  Old style of 'Made in China' on a Satsuma style fish bowl, probably 3rd quarter of the 20th century.
chinese made satsuma 中國製造 - Made in China (Zhōngguó zhìzào).  Stylised seal type mark from a Satsuma style vase, probably Royal Satsuma Company, China, late 20th century.


qianlong chinese porcelain  大清乾隆年制 - Dà qīng qiánlóng nián zhì - Great Qing Qianlong Emperor Reign Period (1736-95).  The imperial reign mark for the Emperor Qianlong in script form.  Mark from a blue and white dish in the Qianlong style, but later, likely early 20th century production.  Note there are errors in how the script is formed for Qianlong.
reproduction qianlong long mark 乾隆御製 - Qiánlóng yùzhì - Emporer Qianlong.  Printed mark on a Qianlong enamel style vase.  Jingdezhen production, manufacturer not identified.  Prices at $49 September 2021, click image to see full item.
qianlong mark on reproduction chinese vase 乾隆御製 - Qiánlóng yùzhì - Emporer Qianlong. Transfer print mark on a Jingdezhen produced vase, factory not identified. Mark from a large millefiori temple jar, click mark to see full item. The description on the picture reads 万花将军罐 Wàn huā jiāngjūn guàn (millefiori jar). Priced at $175 ex works in September 2021.
apocryphal qianlong zhuanshu seal mark 大清乾隆年制 - Da Qing Qianlong Nian zhi - Great Qing dynasty made during the reign of Qianlong Emporer.  Apocryphal zhuanshu mark on the base of a fine quality hand enamelled reproduction vase, unidentified factory in Jingdezhen.  Wholesalers price approx $1100 as of September 2021 illustrating how much work goes into some of these hand made reproductions.  



 chinese satsuma mark 制嶺特注 - Special Note (Chinese) - Custom Order (Japanese).  Mark on a porcelain vase painted in the Satsuma style.  Probably Chinese made, 1980's period.  Intended for export decorative market, not meant as a deceptive fake.