How to Research Markings on Old Bronze & Porcelain Vases

Learn how to research the markings on your porcelain pieces.
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Bronze and Porcelain vases are not only a beautiful addition to your home but when antique; may also be used as a learning tool and a connection to history. This connection becomes more evident as we observe and study the markings found on these types of antique vases. With histories most often stemming from China, researching the markings on antique bronze and porcelain vases will tell an interesting story. Researching these marking may also explain more clearly just what the bronze and porcelain vases are representative of.

Choose a directory or database that fits what you are looking for. If you are unsure exactly which region of the world your vases originated; The International Ceramic Directory may be a good place to start. This can be found online and its displays ceramic marks used all over the world such as China, France Denmark, and the United States.

Carefully look at the marks as you compare the one's on your vase to the ones on the directory. Sometimes marks are very similar and can be mistaken for one another such as the “Cowan marking” found on some bronze and porcelain pieces.

Subscribe to Marks4Ceramics for $9.95 a month to receive more options in getting help. If you are unable to determine the marking of your vase alone, then Marks4Ceramics may have over 12,000 markings to study from. There are also experts available for help. Visual references are also provided.

Remember Gotheburg.com if you discover that your porcelain vase is an antique from China or Japan. This info page includes many Japanese and Chinese porcelain marks and a glossary of terms as well. Key facts about the marks are provided within. This particular directory also offers personal help if you join and donate a fee.

Try each directory and figure out which one has not only the greater knowledge on your marking, but is maybe more affordable for you as well.


The International Ceramic Directory is linked to many of the smaller directories used for looking up markings. Starting there and working through the links could be more efficient and less time consuming then trying to find and go through the links individually.


Numerous directories, libraries, and databases charge fees in order for us to gain full information about markings. You may have to search many different areas to get a complete background of the marking, if you don't want to pay.


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