This example is another new fake or fantasy item with a fancy decorated ceramic body held in metal fittings. Experienced buyers are occasionally confused into thinking these types of items are older than they are, due mostly to the seemingly 'antique' forms they are given and the equally 'old' looking '1895' mark. This particular fantasy piece seems to have been supplied with many of the bells and whistles that collectors tend to look for; a winged dragon forms the handle and another dragon supports the curve of the horn. The front sports the face of a bearded man. Creatures adorn the lid of the horn in raised relief and a rearing horse makes the finial for the lid. Not to be outdone by the elaborate metalwork, the ceramic body features the ever popular 'Celeste blue' background color and intricate floral designs on a white ground.
This piece may at first seem pleasing to the eye, but as is so often true when regarding fantasy things of this nature, the more you consider the piece the more reality starts to begin to creep into consciousness. A little voice should soon be telling you that the designs of its makeup are not 'true.' They are all over the map. It has been given both a European and an Oriental semblance, what with the horse and dragon combined with a bearded gentleman and florid decorations. Some aspects of the piece are completely incongruous in relation to others, by comparison, which gives the item, as a whole, the aspect of a chimera. Fantasy pieces like this are the 'hail fellow well met' characters of the collecting world, attempting to be all things to all people and thus be able to appeal to more pocketbooks than would an authentic item, which would tend to lack some of the characteristics included in this very busy montage.
If you take the time to look close enough, too, you'll find the quality of the ceramic is only so-so, the surface designs are transfer prints, not hand-painted, matching those found on other metal mounted items made by this same concern, and the metal mountings are not of very high quality, either. This is only an illusion of an antique, not the real thing.
The item in this listing is currently being offered for sale by a reproduction wholesale supplier in Belgium. Similar pieces still being made and sold were available for purchase new on the supplier's website as of the day this description was written. In the Antiques Lane section of this shop a second such item has been listed that is identical except for the different color and surface decorations applied to the ceramic body. It has been listed to not only show another example, but to illustrate how the same item can sometimes be re-created in a slightly different form to appeal to still more and other buyers.
These types of items are often assumed to be 'antique' for several reasons. The metal surfaces seem to be old, thanks to the pseudo 'patina' given them at the factory; the equally false 'crazing' of the ceramic surface (also factory produced) suggests extreme age; and because the rather elaborate mark on the base includes a number that appears to be the year date '1895.'
The numbers present in that mark, sometimes identified as a 'Wong Lee' mark, do not refer to the year the pieces were made. As noted, this is a new item and still readily available from the makers and sellers of such objects. If you want to buy and display these types of items for decorative purposes, that is fine, but they should not be represented or sold to you as an 'antique' nor should the suggestion be made that they have any potential to increase in value.
Any item bearing the mark illustrated are always going to be identifiable as creations made in the modern day, by a contemporary manufacturer. A similar mark is used by the same company for items without metal mounts. For those items the numbers '1896' are generally used in the back stamp, which suggests the numbers also double as item 'type' identifiers for the merchant, as well as being a handy red herring for potential buyers. This mark will never be found on an authentically old pottery or porcelain piece. At least, that is, until after the year 2108.
Search this shop by the keyword Wong Lee to find additional examples of metal mounted contemporary fantasy pieces to be on guard against, as many of them are being misrepresented to unsuspecting buyers as 'antiques' on the Internet today.
This item measures 21 inches tall by 13 inches wide and 7 inches deep.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.