Without showing any eagerness, Xia Shao calmly led her friend strolling in the market until she reached the stall and greeted the owner with a smile.
The stall owner surnamed was Zhao, Zhao MingJun, also knew Xia Shao and greeted her warmly when he saw her coming: “Xiao Xia, I see you’ve come again.
Come come come, take a look at the new goods here.
There might be something that might catch your interest.”
Xia Shao smiled and nodded, sweeping a glance at the area where Zhao MingJun was gesturing which included the Qinghua plate.
Liu CuiCui and Du Ping didn’t know what she was doing, so they just stood back and watched.
Pang Dun squatted down to pick up a porcelain bowl in his hands and then played with it.
As for the Qinghua plate, he didn’t even look at it.
As his second uncle had said before, from the 1980s onwards, imitations of Yuan Dynasty blue and white Qinghua plates began to be made in Jingdezhen.
These imitations spread all over the world with their own country being the worst hit.
Pang Dun had looked up to Professor Zhou since he was a child and remembered everything he had said very clearly.
At this moment, Xia Shao crouched down and her gaze glanced over to the Qinghua plate while slowly examining it carefully.
This was a large Qinghua blue and white porcelain plate, over 50 centimetres in diameter by visual estimation.
With a full and dense composition of flying phoenixes and Ruyi cloud design, in a blue and white glaze while the blue shimmered slight grey and it was in perfect condition.
Xia Shao gently touched it, the glaze resembling glutinous rice, and the base of the plate was bevelled on the outer rim.
When Zhao MingJun saw that Xia Shao had taken a fancy to this QingHua plate, he grinned and commented: “Xiao Xia, you have good taste!” These days, Qinghua porcelain is a collector’s craze, maybe this is even the genuine Yuan Qinghua! That would be a national treasure, hahaha!”
When he laughed, the stall owners next to him also laughed out loud, obviously making fun of Xia Shao and none of them think it was the genuine Yuan Qinghua.
Qinghua porcelain was not only available in the Yuan Dynasty, but also from the Tang and Song Dynasties as well as from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
However, only the Yuan Dynasty Qinghua was the most popular for mainly these three reasons: First, the Yuan Dynasty existed for a short period in history and their porcelain ware was naturally less available compared to other dynasties.
Secondly, during the early Ming Dynasty, there was a movement to destroy porcelain ware, smashing lots of the Yuan Dynasty porcelain ware which made Yuan Qinghua even rarer.
Thirdly, the low social status of the intellectuals during the Yuan Dynasty forced many literati and painters to turn to folk crafts to earn a living.
Therefore, making the painting and design of Yuan Dynasty Qinghua porcelain ware a qualitative leap from the previous dynasties!
Also, the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted 98 years gave birth to the wonder of Yuan Qinghua, pushing the Ming and Qing dynasties to new heights that others struggled to achieve!
To put it bluntly, Yuan Qinghua porcelain was the most sought-after in the Qinghua categories because of its good quality and the rarity of its survival.
However, because of the scarcity of genuine pieces and the widespread imitations on the market, this was why collectors intuitively assume that when they saw Qinghua porcelain, it would be the new imitation.
Thus, it was like the pearls were covered in dust and yet no one dares to recognise them.
Xia Shao smiled faintly but she was a little excited in her heart.
Over the years, she had been picking up a lot of leaks and had long since reached the state where she was comfortable with it.
Yet, Yuan Qinghua was really so rare, at least this was the first time she had come across it in five years! Not only did she conclude that this was the authentic Yuan Qinghua, but it was also very likely to be an official kiln that was used in the palace.
This was because the large plate in front of her had the design of a flying phoenix which according to the laws of the Yuan Dynasty, dragons, kirin, phoenixes, white rabbits and lingzhi were not allowed to be used by courtiers and commoners.
Thus, this forbidden design was usually on the official kiln ware found in the palace!
Xia Shao’s memory from her previous life, the Yuan Qinghua jar1 with a GuiGuZi descending from the mountain, had been auctioned at a UK auction house for a sky-high price of 230 million dollars.
Making it the number one most expensive Asian artwork in the world, shocking their national academic, art collecting and investment markets.
Although bowls and plates were less valuable than bottles and jars in the antique trade, this was still a genuine Yuan Qinghua and it’s a large plate so its value won’t be too low.
Xia Shao stared at the Qinghua plate in her hands, and an idea was gradually taking shape in her mind.
However, on her face, she remained calm and even gave a coy smile: “Uncle Zhao, don’t laugh at me.
If this was an ‘open door’ item, you won’t even let me touch it.” The term ‘open door’ was used as a jargon term for an item that was undoubtedly genuine.
“Hahahaha.” Zhao MingJun laughed out loud: “You are also considered a reasonable person.
Seeing that you are sincere and have been in the market for a few years, Uncle Zhao will not beat around the bush.
If you really like it, you can have it for this price.”
After saying this, Zhao MingJun gestured two fingers.
“Huh? Two hundred? This plate is so expensive! Previously what I saw was at least a bracelet that can be worn, what can I do with such a plate when I buy it back?” Liu CuiCui rolled her eyes while Du Ping just kept quiet and looked at Xia Shao.
Pang Dun tugged Xia Shao secretly and hinted at her with a ‘You sure you really want to buy that?’ look.
Xia Shao ignored him: “Uncle Zhao, you know that I’m a student and don’t have much spare allowance.
I really don’t have so much money with me and you have also said that this item’s origin was not from somewhere prestigious, so why don’t you lower the price for me?” She just gestured a finger for negotiating.
Zhao MingJun replied: “Aiyoo, that’s too low.
Uncle Zhao’s business also needs capital, your price is set too low.
The most let’s just split in between, I can’t do anything lower than that.”
Pang Dun continued tugging Xia Shao but she just smiled: “ Uncle Zhao, are you able to predict how much I have? This is really all I have with me, not a single cent more.” She took out one hundred and fifty yuan to pay it to Zhao MingJun.
Zhao MingJun saw the money and took it with a smile: “Doing Uncle Zhao’s line of work, naturally we have good estimation so it’s not too far from foretelling hahaha.”
Naturally, Zhao MingJun was unaware that the person squatting in front of him was truly able to foretell and was a direct disciple of the 106th generation of the Xuan Sect.
Zhao MingJun kept the money in his pocket, this piece came from the rural market and it only cost thirty dollars when he bought it.
Now when he resold it, it turned a few folds.
If an experienced collector saw this piece, they would not buy it that easily without getting help from a few friends to check the authenticity.
That’s why students’ money was the easiest to earn.
Zhao MingJun was happy and watched Xia Shao who was squatting on the ground, carefully wrapping the large blue and white plate with newspaper before putting it into her school bag safely.
His stares at her were as if she was being foolish person and so naïve.
The stall owners next to him were also looking over, some were even shaking their heads and some were disdainful about it, but no one spoke up.
It was a rule of the trade that once a transaction had been made, it could not be reversed nor returned.
Unknowingly, Xia Shao was thinking about the same thing too.
This trade was a test of their judgement, and one could only blame one’s own shallow judgement for a missed sale.
Just like the Duan inkstone that Professor Zhou had picked as a leak.
Although the stall owner had missed the sale and regretted it to death, he could not recover it because the deal had already been done.
Xia Shao carried her bag and chatted a bit more with Zhao MingJun before she left with Liu CuiCui and the others.
As soon as they had gotten far away, Liu CuiCui couldn’t help but asked: “ShaoZi, you’re such a fool for spending so much money! Who spends 150yuan on a plate? It’s too big for serving food on it, What’s so pretty about the plate if is used for decoration? Who doesn’t have a plate?”
Pang Dun puffed out a laugh: “Sister CuiCui, if this were real, it would be a great ornament to keep at home! But the problem now is that this piece can’t be genuine.
I think it’s most likely a Jingdezhen imitation.
My second uncle said that the Yuan Qinghua imitations from Jingdezhen were not bad but there was high-end and low-end quality.
The high-end ones are more than a hundred thousand or so dollars, but the low-end ones are also available for a couple of hundred dollars.
This object’s origin is not from some prestigious venue but probably collected from somewhere rural.
Thus, ShaoZi was taken advantage of for buying and paying 150yuans.
Uncle Zhao should be laughing quietly away with such a deal!”
Although Pang Dun was only 15 years old, he had been in contact with antiques for several years, so he could explain in such a clear manner and reasoning.
Even Liu CuiCui, who usually disliked him for being dull, couldn’t stop nodding and agreeing, thinking that Xia Shao had been cheated.
Du Ping, however, frowned and stopped, glaring at Pang Dun: “If you know so well, why didn’t you say so just now?”
Pang Dun scratched his head with an innocent look: “Brother Du Ping, you can’t accuse me of that, I’ve been tugging her all along.
She insisted on buying it so I couldn’t say much about it.
This trade is a matter of mutual consent.”
“What’s this trade here, this trade there? How old are you? You haven’t even finished growing your pubic hairs so don’t try acting mature and talk about trades!” Du Ping was furious and pulled Xia Shao back: “That Zhao guy is such a fraud! He thinks that we’re students and don’t know anything, so he bullied and took advantage? Let’s go back! I’ll bring you back there and help you get your money back! We don’t want such a stupid plate!”
Xia Shao was awkward and didn’t know if she should laugh or cry.
She finally managed to get her hands on this piece, and now she was told to give it back?
Du Ping’s face was inexplicably red at this time, and Xia Shao’s wrist was white, tender, smooth, and extremely delicate when he held on to her.
This was not the first time he had pulled her since he was a child, but for some reason, his heart was beating very fast this time.
Du Ping almost wanted to slap himself, how dare he think of such things at such a moment! He dragged Xia Shao and headed back: “Come on, let’s go and confront that Zhao guy! Don’t worry, I’ll beat him up until he’s willing to refund the money!”
Pang Dun hurriedly chased after him: “Brother Du Ping! Uncle Zhao can’t refund it, there’s no rule of refunding in this trade, let alone conning! You…..”
He zipped his mouth before he could finish his sentence when he saw the glares from Du Ping.
Apparently, Du Ping was really angry so he was scared and didn’t dare to speak anymore.
Pang Dun thought to himself silently that they were going to be the joke for the day and no one would treat them well when they returned to the antique market again.
On the contrary, Xia Shao retracted her wrist without a trace and stopped in her tracks: “Brother Du Ping, I know you are doing it for my own good.
But I really like this plate so I won’t give it back.”
She had a smile on her face but her gaze was firm and calm which had an aura that made others dare not speak up anymore.
Du Ping was startled when Xia Shao withdrew her wrist from his grasp.
He felt an inexplicable force that shook his palm, then pushed his hand away, was that his illusion…..
“It’s the same as before, so can you all please help me keep this a secret.
Especially you Pang Dun, don’t tell Professor Zhou about what happened today.” Xia Shao instructed.
Over the years, the number of times she bought items when she came with her friends to visit the antique markets was limited.
It was just around three or five times and each time she asked them to help her kept them a secret.
In particular, Professor Zhou, as he was an experienced collector so if he knew that she had bought such an item, he would want to take a look at it.
If he determined that it was genuine, it would be a big deal, and in all likelihood, Xia GuoXi would get to know about it.
That would mean that Xia Shao’s whole family would also learn about it.
At her current age, it was unlikely that her family would let her keep those antiques when they found out about them.
Furthermore, there was bound to be a storm among her relatives, and with their personalities, anyone who came along would intervene and things would be out of her control.
Xia Shao didn’t feel bad about giving all those antiques to her parents, but she knew that they knew nothing about the trade, much less the maximum value of these antiques.
If the relatives were to coax them, given her parents’ characters, they would probably share it with them.
There was a good chance that all the precious antiques she had saved up over the years would be gone easily.
It’s no wonder Xia Shao was very concerned about it as in her previous life, she knew too well about her relatives’ behaviours.
In her new life, she would eliminate all these potential troubles! She already had a plan in mind and she would look for an opportunity to make a move on it!
Seeing that Xia Shao was determined, Liu CuiCui and the others knew that it was useless to persuade her anymore, so they all nodded and agreed: “Fine, when have we never been on your side? If your grandfather and parents knew that’s how you spend your money, your butt would be blossoming.
For the sake of your butt, we can only help and keep it a secret.”
Liu CuiCui winked joking and Xia Shao smiled awkwardly: “Thank you, guys.
Let’s take the bus back then.”
Pang Dun looked oddly while Du Ping was still thinking about what had just happened.
The four of them just left the antique market and got on the bus to head back.
The bus had just left shortly when a short, fat man in his forties arrived hurriedly at Zhao MingJun’s stall in the antique market with an elderly man in tow.
The man was very respectful to the elderly man but when he swept his eyes over the stall, he was stunned, and then his mind exploded in frustration.
His face paled as he reached out, grabbed Zhao MingJun and asked in a loud voice while his hands shook: “Boss Zhao! Where are the large blue and white plate that was placed here?”
(T/N: This chapter was kind of tough to translate as I had to do some small research hahaha.
Ok better late than never~ Below are the images of such Yuan Qinghua, these are the closest which I could find.
Thank you all for reading too~)
This was the Yuan Qinghua jar1 with GuiGuZi descending from the mountain.
This was the Yuan Qinghua plate from the palace with phoenix drawing.
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