How To Obtain More Chinese Antiques for Your Collection

Porcelain originated in China thousands of years ago. 

The materials used to make true Chinese porcelain are cheap and easy to find. Ingredients include quartz, bone, glass, and ash. While these ingredients may be easier to find, finding true Chinese antiques is not. 

Whether you're looking for delicate porcelain dishes or small sculptures, finding true Chinese antiques to add to your collection can be quite the scavenger hunt. Many people enjoy the search but struggle to know if something is legitimate or a knock-off.

Below is a quick guide on finding high-quality, legitimate antiques from China to add to your home collection. Go ahead and keep reading, and don't forget to clear some extra shelf space. 

Why Do People Want Them?

Finding Ancient Chinese art can be difficult due to the competitiveness in the global market. Chinese antiques are known for their delicate details and strong connection to Chinese culture and philosophy. Each piece carries strong cultural significance. 

If you do find an item while searching wholesale markets, you may also be shocked by the price tag. Many items available on the market come with a hefty price tag, but collectors consider these pieces to be priceless. 

Before online markets were available, many antiques were bought and traded by missionaries and travelers. They would buy them from China and bring them back to the Western world. 

Items created before the rule of Mao Zedong, a former communist leader, are highly coveted due to Mao destroying many pieces of art and antiques. He wanted to get rid of old ideas, customs, and culture. 

Laws Surrounding Chinese Antiques

There are laws surrounding the selling and exportation of some pieces of Chinese art and antiques. Before you become too attached to a Chinese sculpture or cup you see online, do your research. 

Items made before 1949 in China are labeled as cultural relics. In order for them to be sold and exported, the government must place an approved seal upon the item. 

In June of 2009, the government created a law prohibiting individuals within the People's Republic of China to export items made earlier than 1912- the end of the Qing dynasty. 

Therefore, only buy from reputable sources with many years of tracked record which can provide provenance and can attest that the objects were out of Mainland China before 2009.

Types of Antiques to Look For

There are several popular types of antiques you'll discover when looking at Early Chinese art and collectibles. Some collectors purchase a variety of objects for their collection while others stick to one main type. 

No matter what you're collecting, it's important to investigate the quality of work. You'll pay less for lower quality work, but guarantee a seller is not asking for more than an item is worth. 


A popular type of Chinese antique is a vessel. A vessel may include teapots, jugs, vases, or plates. These are typically displayed within large cases within a home so don't forget to ask if your vessel includes a stand if it needs one. 

Collectors go crazy for porcelain vessels, especially those made in the town of Jingdezhen. Other materials used for vessels include clay, bronze, and glass. 


If you're looking to adorn the walls within your home, look for Chinse paintings. Loved by many, painting is one of the oldest art forms in China.

You'll notice 2 main types of painting while looking at Chinese antiques. There is the gongbi style and the shui-mo style. 

Gongbi style includes meticulous, intricate details. Paintings in this style often tell a story. 

Paintings created using the shui-mo style are less detailed but just as beautiful. Artists used watercolors to create these paintings, and they were often enjoyed by Chinese scholars. 

Chinese Furniture

The Ancient Chinese had a very minimalist style when it came to furniture. Most of what you see now in antique markets comes from the end of the 14th to the beginning of the 20th century. 

Pricing is determined by the time period in which it was made, the quality of materials used, and the overall craftsmanship. Even the difference in wood can result in the difference of hundreds of dollars. 

The most highly coveted types of wood are Zitan and Huanghuali wood. Both types of wood are found in Hainan.


Artists in China often created sculptures to tell stories, show religious figures, or honor important individuals. Antique sculptures are typically made out of jade, wood, or clay.

If you find a piece made of ivory, do research before buying because the Chinese government has created laws to regulate the selling of ivory. You'll also want to ask for detailed photos of the sculpture before buying to check for cracks and deformities. 

Did you find a jade sculpture? Treasure it because jade is very valuable in China. 

Where to Buy Chinese Antiques

Many collectors are using the power of the internet to purchase Chinese antiques. You can simply type in 'Chinese antiques' into Google and explore the results. There are many online markets and private stores. 

If you're searching on an auction site such as Ebay, be careful of fake and overpriced pieces. Always investigate the photos, look at seller reviews, and read the description. 

There are also many online auctions to bid for antiques, or you can search for an auction you'd like to attend in person. Auctions are intense so prepare ahead of time!

Chat with collectors you meet within your own town or through the internet. There are many online groups, such as those on Facebook, dedicated to specific niches. Find a group that enjoys discussing Chinese antiques, and ask other members where they've collected theirs. 

Improving Your Collection: Chinese Antiques

Chinese antiques are incredible pieces to add to your personal collection of art and collectibles. It's important to do your research before buying any new pieces. 

Before buying, double-check the date the item was made. Guarantee the quality of the work matches the price you're paying, and be aware of any laws and regulations surrounding certain antiques. 

Are you fascinated with Chinese art and antiques? Take a few moments to browse our personal collection pieces, including this amazing bronze vessel. The Weisbrod collection features tons of unique pieces to inspire your search for Chinese antiques.