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Pierson, Stacey (2019) 'True or False? Defining the Fake in Chinese Porcelain.' Les Cahiers de Framespa, 31.

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Abstract

This article explores the category of ‘fake’ in Chinese porcelain. It begins by defining the fake in the context of Chinese art and considers how the fake might be a stylistic category as well as a concept with reference to Chinese ceramics. Fake porcelain by definition is made to deceive but what kind of deception is intended? Some porcelain is made to deceive the buyer who believes it is ‘authentic’. This is falsifying for profit. However, deception can also be a form of aesthetics or even a necessity. Some Chinese porcelains were intentionally made in imitation of past pieces, for example. These are usually defined as ‘archaistic’. Others were made as replacements, and still others as skeuomorphs in the trompe l’oeil tradition that developed in court arts of the Qing period. For the latter, this article queries and explores what in fact is being faked. In doing so, it demonstrates that the concept of ‘fake’ in Chinese porcelain is complex and its production is grounded in both commercial and connoisseurship practices. In order to explore the complexity of this concept this article examines the various types of Chinese porcelain that might be defined as fake, looking at the motivations, history, reception and audiences for this kind of production in dynastic and contemporary China. Stylistically six types of ‘fake’ porcelains have been identified for the purposes of this article: deceptive pieces; aesthetic fakes; antiquarian pieces; necessary fakes; objects with fake identification, and fakes made as artworks. Ultimately, truly deceptive fakes, like forgeries, are an increasing problem across the arts, not just in Chinese porcelain, but this article demonstrates that the production of fake Chinese porcelain was deceptive in several different ways and such porcelains were made in a very particular context that is revealed when the subject of ‘fake’ porcelain is positioned within a historical stylistic framework.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Chinese, porcelain, fakes
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
ISSN: 17604761
Copyright Statement: Les Cahiers de Framespa sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.4000/framespa.6168
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 09:04
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/31282

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