10 JUNE 1911, Page 26

Old Chinese Porcelain. By A. W. Bahr. (Cassell & Co.

30s. net.)—The North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society held at Shanghai in November, 1908, an exhibition of old Chinese por- celain. Here we have a catalogue of some of the exhibits carefully described in accordance with the newest lights on the subject, and illustrated with plates, some of them in colour. Some two dozen specimens, reasonably attributed to early times, begin- ning with the Han and ending with the Sung period, among them the model of a temple, a lamp, an incense burner, and a tall mortuary urn, were all included ; but the exhibition was chiefly of more recent wares. For the early wares, which have been recently discovered in great numbers in the coarse of the construction of railway lines, the catalogue of the exhibition held last summer by the Burlington Fine Art Club should be consulted.

But while the quaintness and the tentative characteristics of these primitive pieces appeal to the archteologist, the ordinary amateur of fine porcelains cannot fail to admire the accomplished technique of the later wares. The bold drawing, the sumptuous colouring, and the high qualities of paste and glaze in the Lang-Hal period are bound to obtain general appreciation. The typical produc- tions of the Yung-Ching and CWien-Lung time, with their refinement of decorative treatment and their less robust style, may not make so strong an appeal to the trained artistic sense. But whatever the preferences, the student will find in this volume much instructive matter. It is an excellent plan to place opposite to each plate a careful description of the specimen or specimens figured thereon. A dozen of the plates in colours are reproduc- tions of drawings made by a Chinese artist from the objects exhibited. They have merits of their own, but the drawing is rather hard and does not do justice to the easy flow of the actual colouring. Some of the later plates represent objects other than ceramics, such as enamels on copper and carvings on hard stones. The book does not claim to be a history of pottery and porcelain, but it is a very useful illustrated and annotated catalogue of choice and authentic specimens.