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Remarks on Applying Traditional Appraisal Methods when Appraising Ancient Ceramics

Professor Lü Chenglong, Director of the Department of Objects and Decorative Arts, The Palace Museum, Beijing

Asia Week lecture sponsored by Sotheby’s.

In his online lecture, Professor Lü Chenglong will explore traditional appraisal methods that have long been used in appraising ancient ceramics, but since they are rather difficult to study, in recent years people qualified to use them are few and far between, and thus gradually there has been a tendency to marginalise them.

Professor Lü Chenglong will take four examples of ancient ceramics in the collection of The Palace Museum whose dating had been wrongly appraised, and will make use of traditional appraisal methods to evaluate them, correctly establishing their period, thus proving that traditional appraisal methods constitute a branch of study, one with scientific features based on good authority, and not a speculative, fake science. At the same time, he will strongly stress that traditional appraisal methods certainly have limitations of their times, and that their theoretical basis was developed and gradually perfected over time. He notes particularly that when identifying certain historical top-level fakes, one cannot resolve the problem in an instant; rather, it is through the constant revelation of new textual and material sources, and through generations of steady efforts to deepen research, that the true historical features of such pieces can gradually be clarified.

Professor Lü Chenglong – Curriculum vitae

Lü Chenglong, born 1962 in Longkou City, Shandong, graduated from Jingdezhen Ceramic College Engineering Department in July 1984. From 1999 to 2001 he completed an MA in Qing History jointly run by China People’s University and the Palace Museum. He pursued overseas research in Nagasaki, Japan from August 2001 until March 2002. He joined The Palace Museum in July 1984 and has worked there ever since. His current appointments are as Research Fellow of the Palace Museum in Beijing, member of the Scholarly Committee, Director of the Department of Objects and Decorative Arts, Head of The Palace Museum Institute for Ceramics, Deputy Secretary of the China Ancient Ceramics Society, Postgraduate Adviser at the Jingdezhen Ceramic University, College of Art and Culture, Deputy Head of the Jingdezhen City Research Society for Ancient Oriental Porcelain, member of the Scholarly Committee of the Shaanxi Technical University Silicate Cultural Heritage Research Institute, member of the Advisory  Authenticating Expert Committee of the China Collectors Association, postgraduate supervisor for the Chinese National Academy of Arts, and postgraduate supervisor in the Antiquities and Museums Specialism of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In 2006, Lü Chenglong was honoured as ‘an exemplary expert of the Ministry of Culture’. Since 2016 he has received a special government annual allowance. In 2017 he was honoured with the titles of ‘eminent culture figure, and distinguished person’ in the ‘group of four disciplines’ programme, and ‘lead researcher in the national ‘ten thousand leadership programme’ in philosophy and social sciences’. In 2018 he was appointed a member of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Over many years, Lü Chenglong has pursued the authentication, display, and preservation of ancient ceramics. His research emphasises the particular features of modelling, decoration, bodies and glazes, firing technology and makers’ marks associated with each historical period of ceramics. He has published two specialist monographs, edited some twenty specialist publications, published over one hundred scholarly articles and essays, and investigated tens of ceramic kiln sites. He is frequently invited to present at academic gatherings and to lecture in the USA, Germany, Turkey, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.


  • Lü Chenglong
    Lü Chenglong

    Professor Lü is the Director of the Department of Objects and Decorative Arts Palace Museum, Beijing

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