Asian Art Appraisal Services

A long history of Asian art imports

Those of us who have an appreciation for items imported from Asia have been in good company since the Silk Road linked China with the Roman Empire in the 1st century BCE. The export of fine quality Chinese porcelain exploded during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) thanks to significant advances in production techniques as well as official support for a market economy. Porcelain continued to be a primary export item to which tea and opium were added during early the early to mid Qing Dynasty (1644-1910).

Trade with Europe and America was severely curtailed in the early to mid 19th century due to political and economic concerns and the Opium Wars.

It picked up again in the late 1800’s, with demand for additional fine and decorative art objects from China, Japan and other Asian countries. Import of items such as antique and contemporary jade and ivory carvings, scroll paintings, prints, cloisonné, clothing and accessories, burial sites artifacts, and temple and architectural elements hit a peak in the mid 20th century.

When do you need an Asian art appraisal?

Certain types of fine art objects made for the royal courts by designated imperial kilns, artists and craftsmen can be can exceed the $1 million mark. Generally speaking, though, objects created for the export market were not made with the same level of attention and have lower values. Having said that, fine examples of individual pieces and collections grace museums throughout the world as well as our own shelves and display cabinets. Distinguishing these from souvenirs made for the tourist trade can sometimes be tricky and a professional Asian art appraisal may be needed to determine the difference.

Items covered in WorthWise in Asian art appraisals

WorthWise has provided Asian art appraisal services for the following types of items originating in China, Japan, Thailand, Tibet, Nepal, Indian and Egypt from contemporary to Han, Song, Tang, Ming, Qing, and Republic periods:


jade, agate, carnelian, amethyst, stone, wood, resin and ivory human, deity, animal and mythological creature figurines, figural groups, plaques, pendants, boxes, scholars’ objects, snuff bottles, netsukes, sword fittings, hairpins, chimes, garment and belt hooks, bracelets, pocket pieces, bi-disks, chess sets, etc.


bronze, brass, enamel and cloisonné figurines, vases, urns, teapots, boxes, and Buddhist and Hindu statues and devotional objects


earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, vases, plates, bowls, teapots, and figurines.


embroidered silk robes, shawls, screens, tapestries, and figurines.

Identifying the appraised object

In the vast majority of circumstances, identifying the appraised object is enough to be able to conduct an accurate and defensible Asian art appraisal for it. Sometimes, though, interpreting characters, or confirming the age or origin of an object may be required before proceeding with the appraisal. In these cases, WorthWise will consult with its network of outside experts to establish that information upon obtaining your permission.

A word about ivory

Appraising, along with buying, selling and owning objects made with ivory content is becoming increasingly complex and regulated by state, national and international laws. Because of this, the market for, and thus the value of objects made of ivory from endangered species, is diminishing rapidly. For this reason, WorthWise no longer offers Asian art appraisal services for ivory from endangered species.

Contact us to see if your ivory objects qualify for an Asian art appraisal.

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”

~ George Bernard Shaw


Many Asian objects, especially porcelain, have characters or marks indicating the reign during which the item was made. These reign marks are often faked or simply used by legitimate potters wishing to pay homage to masters from previous reign periods. Do not assume that the reign mark on your item is a proof of its age.