Fire Stone in Red Cannot be Regarded as a Reliable Method for the Discernment of Ancient Porcelain


Fire stone in red at the bottom of the
modeled product


In the two articles about fire stone in red issued in Collections (4th and 12th edition, 2002), its cause of formation, its type and the usage in discernment of ancient porcelain were described in detail.

During ten years' collection, I paid much attention to the research on fire stone in red and collected several such objects. Based on my own experience, I believe that fire stone in red cannot be regarded as a reliable method for discerning the ancient porcelain, the reasons are as follow:

First of all, the phenomenon of fire stone in red is quite difficult to study. Till now, traditional ways in firing ceramics are still being used. As we all know, the content of iron, arts and crafts, fuel and temperature are the basic elements in the formation of fire stone in red. If the content of iron in the body is appropriate, the temperature in the kiln is suitable, fire stone in red is not hard to get nowadays. In addition, the perfect combination of tradition and modern technology made the difference between modern and ancient fire stone in red less than ever.

Secondly, according to the modeled objects, there is little difference between modern and ancient products. Mr. Ma once pointed out in his article that the technique in producing body red and kiln red could also be regarded as the standard for the discernment of ancient ceramics. The reason was that these two forms were hard to be modeled. Moreover, he emphasized that " disperse effect" was the most difficult part for imitating. This opinion was used in the appraisal of ceramics which could be reviewed in Collections (P94, 4th edition, 2003). I once bought a vase in underglaze red of Hongwu period, Ming dynasty, to my surprise, the body red and "disperse effect" were well imitated. Accordingly, it is obvious that these elements could not be viewed as reference for the discernment of ancient ceramics.

Picture: Fire stone in red at the bottom of the modeled product

Guangxi Shiping.Li