Ode to a Grecian (well, probably not) Urn

To many Americans, including several that live right here in the T&C House, Monday night television means Monday Night Football.  To me, however, Monday night television means Antiques Roadshow. antiques-roadshow-logo We really don’t watch much tv; we don’t have cable or satellite or dish or whatever.  We do have homework and piano practice and basketball games, and, truthfully, and thankfully, we’re kind of choosy about television.  Still, I do love AR, and I hope to attend a taping some day—perhaps in Atlanta this summer.  In the meantime, I would love one of their porcelain experts to make a house call. I need some information.

You see, when my parents came to visit at Thanksgiving, they brought us two identical porcelain urns. IMG_2778 I remembered the vases well, as they used to be on the mantel of my grandmother’s fieldstone fireplace in Tennessee.  They had been a gift to her from the estate of her former sister-in-law, or my great aunt Zola, who lived on East 59th Street in New York, just around the corner from Bloomingdale’s.IMG_2782Zola was married to Ralph, a lawyer in Manhattan in the first half of the 20th century.  When Zola died in 1957, the urns went to my grandmother.   When my grandmother died in 1997, she left them to her daughter, my aunt Grace.   My aunt and uncle have recently moved into an assisted living facility, and my aunt wanted me to have the urns.  No one in my family knows anything about them; my dad seems to remember hearing that a client had given them to my great uncle, but that’s it. IMG_2781 Both urns are painted primarily in gold, navy, and a pale turquoise on a creamy background.  A golden dragon with the slightest bit of brilliant red resides on one side of each vase, while a dragon rendered in gold and turquoise is on the opposite side.  They are about 15 inches tall and about six inches in diameter at their widest point.   One of the handles has been broken and repaired.IMG_2784  The markings on the bottom of each are Chinese.  I like these vases a lot, and will keep them for sentimental reasons, even if it turns out that they were bought at Woolworth’s in 1956. (Truthfully, they might be made into lamps, if that’s the case.)  I am, however, curious to know if they are older or if they are reproductions.  I know a tiny bit about porcelain, namely Imari, Rose Medallion, and some Staffordshire.  These beauties have me stumped, though, and I really don’t even know where to start.

So, Dear Readers, any suggestions or information will be most appreciated.  Somebody must know something.

12 comments:

  1. Seriously, the Antiques Roadshow is coming to Atlanta this summer? I love the British version--it's one of those quirky things I watch on Atlanta Public Television that's not carried on Georgia Public Television (much larger system), but it will be exciting to see what shows up here. And sorry, can't help...we have very few antiques. I long ago realized that although I like old houses a lot, I'm not that fond of old stuff (but that's probably because the only old stuff we had was junk!)

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  2. Yes, Antiques Roadshow will be in Atlanta the first Saturday in August. All the details are on the pbs website; I think I'm going to apply for tickets. It looks like fun, although I'm not sure what I would take--nothing heavy!

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  3. I love Antiques Roadshow, especially the British version.

    Your urns are lovely; they appear to be Japanese.

    Look up "NIppon marks" and Noritake.

    This website may prove to be a starting off point for you:
    http://gotheborg.com/marks/noritake.shtml

    Good Luck!

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  4. They are wonderful, no matter the value, I would keep them too - unless for some reason you could RETIRE on selling them. ;)

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  5. http://www.chinese-antique-porcelain.com/index.html for Chinese ideas & http://www.gotheborg.com/marks/index_jap_marks.htm?http://gotheborg.com/marks/20thcenturyjapan.shtml just in case it is Japanese.

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  6. Urban Blonde, thanks so much for stopping by and for your help. I do think Japanese might be right, and the Gotheberg site has tons of information. Thanks again!

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  7. Or you could ask Reggie. I bet he knows:).

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  8. I have no idea what they are and even less of an idea how to direct you. I do however think they're fabulous and deserve an honored visible spot in your home!!

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  9. Can't wait to hear about what you find out!!!

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  10. I can't wait til they come to Atlanta. Thanks for letting us know. The urns are beautiful. Why don't you send a picture to the Columnist...you know the Corinthian Column. He is in Thailand and knows about all that stuff. awfully nice guy!

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  11. I have no idea but they are beautiful. :)

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  12. I just found your blog and am reading it from the beginning and enjoy it very much. Although I'm 3 years late with this, I believe your vases to be Japanese Satsuma. We have very similar taste, and I've been showing my 93 year old mother who lives with me all of the things in your house that are also in my house. I love seeing your home and reading about your family.

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