Other Victims of the Holocaust

The items on Ebay reflect who has been most persecuted, and had the most taken from them over the long years of oppressive Chinese Communist rule, as well as lost in the days of revolution and war before Communists coming to power.

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The ruling class, aristocrats and scholars- 士 – were among the most persecuted- the first (and the last) to be targeted and have their things taken away. Anyone who was seen as better than the common person was brought down to their level- one way or another. Also anyone who speaks out and is educated is seen as a threat by a totalitarian regime that runs on absolute control. Examples of scholars being persecuted today:

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Old “aristocratic” jade
  • See this auction: sold 12/19/2015 for $1.88 by shilei24
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New “aristocratic” jade

This is also why there are so many ink stones, brush holders, and stone seals for sale currently. These are the tools of intellectuals and thinkers, forever enemies to fascism which seems to only be able to run smoothly off of pure ignorance.

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The typical Chinese (or Tibetan) scholar’s desk hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Photo by alvise forcellini, Flickr

Ink Sticks:

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Above is an example of a typical stick of ink similar to what you can buy even today. There is a standardized shape and fairly uniform size to them that are used for everyday tasks. This size is perfect for the size of the grinding surface of most inkstones, and is a nice size to grasp, even for children. Most of the ink sticks for sale on Ebay are not these type though, and are far too ornate to have been owned by the average Chinese person. Often these were not  used, but just passed down from generation to generation as uncarved seals are, or passed from family to family as gifts. More about prestige and honor, than practical use, and would have came out of the studies of the very well to do and aristocracy of China’s elite.

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Complete set of Zodiac Ink Sticks
  • Buy It Now page ($74.99)- no longer listed 05/2016, unclear if sold and no other items listed for sale still by 8753peter (in Ireland)
  • Another Buy It now page, same photo, different seller (was $74.99- 2 available; price reduced to $67.99- 2 available by 08/2016) by yulin15117 (in China)

The problem with the Ebay sellers above is that though one is in Ireland, and one in China, they are both selling the exact same product at the exact same price using the exact same photos of the same set (see broken ink stick in left corner). Probably the Chinese government has set up the seller in Ireland with a number of items, perhaps as bribe money for some other favor? It is pretty clear evidence though of conspiracy, especially something this old and unique, at the exact same price. The other items 8753peter has all look very suspect too and it isn’t limited to just this one item.

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Besides the typical black ink, red ink pigmented with cinnabar is the most common color used by calligraphers and painters, and was more expensive. The example featuring horses above is also painted with gold.

Ink Stones:

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Though these jade pieces with circular flat areas are advertised as “ink stones”- no ink has even been in them, otherwise the jade would be discolored, particularly in cases like the above with very light colored stone. They were made specifically for burial purposes as part of a larger assemblage of objects meant to prepare a person for the afterlife, purely symbolic really and not actually functional. Ink sticks need to be ground, and if what you are rubbing against is smooth, it doesn’t really work, also these have very little space to grind the stick around in unlike functional inkstones.  People often mistake this type of mass-produced for burial jade as fake, but it is really from someone’s grave, though perhaps not the greatest quality to begin with and a stone that is often dyed, not nephrite. The seller’s have left a dirt wash on these white pieces of stone to accentuate the design.

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Phoenix and Dragon Inkstone

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Brushes:

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  • Buy It Now page ($22.49- 2 sold)- ended 04/06/2016 sold out by  fuquanlai772

This brush is made from hair, bone and copper balls that have been inlayed. Definitely used if not an antique, but was being sold as “new” along with many others. Maybe the colors are of glass, but maybe they are real coral and turquoise which would make them really be devalued at this price.

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  • Buy It Now page ($21.38- 6 available, 14 sold 12/2015; 19 sold 04/2016) – ended 04/05/2016 with 19 sold by fuquanlai772

The brush above is made from bone and in an ancient religious design of crosses and eyes often seen on beads, particularly prayer beads

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  • Buy It Now page ($11.48- 10 available, 40 sold 12/2015; 47 sold 04/2016) – ended 04/06/2016 with 47 sold by fuquanlai772

Porcelain with horn above, wood below with enamel cloisonne piece near the tip.

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  • See this auction: sold 1/18/2016 for $18.47 by art_gem

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Brushes don’t hardly get any bigger or more expensive than this- made from carved bone as well as the Tibetan’s favorite stone- turquoise. This may have cost 3 times as much brand new, and that was possible 40 years ago or more. This wouldn’t have been owned by an ordinary Tibetan who was fairly illiterate to begin with, but an aristocratic Tibetan family. Because the material is known to be synthetic and thought to be dyed stone, it is doubtful a Chinese person would have owned this, and would have preferred jade or another stone.

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The brush above, with this stained bone handle and worn jade beads is being sold as brand new. It may even have ivory for the fittings which would be totally illegal to sell, regardless if they were confiscated from a scholar’s studio then resold or not.

Brush Pots (Pen Containers):

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Below is another brush pot almost identical to the one above, but slightly different and missing marks on the bottom. Which is the original and which is the fake? And how much is the original REALLY worth if someone’s gone through all this trouble to fake it?

Brush pots made of out bamboo. As they age, they take on more luster and deepen in color.

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Lotus brush pot carved from bamboo

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Old bamboo brush pot featuring Zhong Kui, vanquisher of ghosts and evil spirits above. Because of the age of these brush pots, size and detailed carving, they have been greatly undervalued, partially just because the market is flooded with them. If there are only 20 in existence, but 15 of them are up for sale within a year, then even serious collectors don’t want to pay that much because the rarity of items is in question.

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This lighter colored wood is being called boxwood by sellers, though it is very, very light in color and may be brand new, since boxwood ages to a rosy brown-red hue. Its a very odd thing to have almost new items in with antiques, and another indication that these may have been confiscations from people who have ended up in prison or been executed recently.

Lotus and goldfish from bronze

Brush Washers:

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  • See this auction: sold 12/22/2015 for $6.50 by bianheye

There is a ton of this type of jade, often featuring this design which I call “The Hunter” that may be 1,200 years old (Tang Dynasty) more or less. These aren’t items that were confiscated from average citizens but taken from museum storehouses. When these were made, they were symbols of state- of king and crown. Hundreds and thousands of them were made, often buried with emperors and their consorts before even being used. But here they are, on Ebay being sold, in not one shop, but 100’s.

It appears that Chinese communists have not only cleaned out the living aristocrats over the decades, but the dead, robbing museums of thousands and thousands of artifacts. Is it because they hate emperors and aristocracy? Because they don’t care and don’t see the value in knowing anything more about these people other than what is already written? Because they are covering up parts of history that they don’t agree with? The world may never know.

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  • See this auction: sold 12/23/2015 for $15.50 by zzqtk
  • See this auction : sold 12/23/2015 for $8.78 by chinese-sun

Paperweights:

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Water Droppers:

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  • See this auction : sold 12/23/2015 for $4.52 by utaoki511

Seals:

  • See this auction: sold 12/25/2015 for $10.90 by art_gem

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Seal Paste Boxes:

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Above is “Average Joe’s” seal paste box, nothing fancy and the graphics are printed, not painted by hand on making it more affordable to the general public. Though it is being sold along side antiques, it may not be that old itself- the printing process for mass production like this is relatively new. This is probably a box that was given away with the seal paste when it was bought, and goes to show the very frugal nature of what the Chinese communists have kept from people, sorted, dispersed to sellers and sold.

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Scrolls and Other Art:

Though a lot of times to us westerners, this may just look like a bunch of Chinese writing and we think, what’s the big deal?

The scroll above is listed as “GuiQuLaiCi” on Ebay with pages yellowed- and many official looking seals. It is a very famous poem that was written in 1081, by Su Shi called in English “Returning Home” and could be painted any number of authors or dates since poetry, much beloved, is widely used for the subject of calligraphy and many are copied again and again.

Again it is unknown who the author is here, the seller only offers this: “CHIESE SCROLL CALLIGRAPHY–Two poems” Though it may look like just a random error in spelling, this means this scroll doesn’t come up on a search for say, “Chinese scroll” or “Chinese calligraphy” if you are a collector of such and know what you are looking at, and may be yet another technique of devaluing the priceless and getting away with selling it wholesale without anyone even knowing it.

This book by Qi Bashi may have been a fake auction listed by a scammer, the seller was manage-sincerely who is no longer a registered user on 12/23/2015, the week this auction was to end. Part of the problem with having so many priceless antiques available is that it erodes buyer’s wariness about things being too good to be true. You’re like- eh, $20 bucks for a Qi Bashi book, sure, and there the scammers have your money…

Qi Bashi (1864-1957) is one of the most famous and well respected painters in China. Chances are if you’ve seen Chinese painted shrimp, then you’ve already seen art work by Qi Bashi.  Though there is a chance the book above is fake, there is also a good chance that it is very real. Now why would the Chinese sell something that cheap if it was worth much, much more? Like in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands? Part of it may be because they can’t actually sell it legitimately- knowing that it is real for sure- because they just took it from someone, instead of purchasing it legitimately from reputable sources. Even if it was fake- a good replica painting of a Qi Bashi, just one sheet, goes for about $169 according to China Online Museum.

  • Buy It Now ($90): listing ended 12/27/2015- unsure if sold by junguoxu2011

Flower book also by Qi Bashi. The outer binding, made into a book out of silk can be used to authenticate the works, which seems very, very real to me and tremendously underpriced. Much like selling a sketch by Pablo Picasso for $90- something just isn’t right here.

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The bamboo paintings above and below is by Zheng Xie, commonly known as Zheng Banqiao or Zheng Ban Qiao (1693-1765), another very famous and important Chinese painter. Other works of his can be found at the Chinese Online Museum.

The series of 4 scrolls above are probably a mass-reproduced version of his famous bamboo paintings- though hand painted, they were probably painted by someone else who then sold these at a greatly reduced price to people who wanted class, but could not quite afford the originals at the time. They are definitely still antiques though, and not newly painted.

The scrolls below may be a real Zheng Banqiao series of bamboo paintings offered for a much higher price, but still greatly devalued if they are truly by the master painter. See right side the close up photos: the brush work is more fluid with a greater variation of dark and lighter grey ink which is a sign of skill and mastery of the art form.

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Painting above is by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) of Bodhidharma, a foreigner who was one of the first teachers of Buddhism in China in the 5th or 6th century. See more paintings of his at the China Online Museum. The 4 scroll painting set below is also attributed to him.

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The portrait above is of the Qianlong Emperor who ruled from 1735 to 1796 and probably painted within his reign. These paintings were their official portraits, commissioned by the imperial court itself, and a way to be known and recognized by people far and wide before television or the internet. The Qianlong Emperor ruled China the longest out of any person in history, and was the longest living, dying at the old age of 87- this may be part of the reason why there are so many portraits of him painted originally. Over the years these have been stockpiled by Chinese communists- taken from loyalists to the old ways and from scholars, or perhaps they were even taken from stockpiles the emperor might have had that were not even in public circulation, and are now being sold en masse. Assumably having a scroll of the emperor on your wall was a no-no during the days of the Cultural Revolution and purge of society that followed of all that was old, and perhaps not many survived in private hands besides these being sold currently by the Communists themselves.

Also confiscated from Chinese libraries far and wide are various books of pornography. They tend to be less imaginative than Japanese Shunga, in a much more restrained style, and often involving emperors and their consorts. Not sure if these were the Emperor’s books, painted with them as the leading character so that they could perform their manly duties better? Or as a boast for them? Or if they were books of other scholars and elites in China and they apparently were very turned on by pornography involving Emperors? Some of these books are OK for the art and subject matter, but then some are pretty wholly inappropriate for anyone containing what appear too be very, very young emperors having sex as children with other children. But yes, the Chinese apparently invented “child pornography” even before cameras came out.

Here is another example of a different style, with heavy Mongolian influence, which tend to be less common than the previous more Chinese style of pornography, and are perhaps a bit older in age:

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Though the Buddhists in Tibet and in China proper have undoubtedly taken just as hard of hit as the Tibetans themselves, no religion is safe from these Chinese Communists who believe in total mind control. It is that element of something beyond their power and control- bigger than them- that scares them so much, and this is why they’ve worked so tirelessly to destroy any and all other beliefs.

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& Many, many more crosses for sale: Christ’s Second Crucifixion

Then there are the snuff bottles found en masse on Ebay through Chinese sellers- undoubtedly confiscations over the years. Though most people say that these were used for tobacco snuff, they were employed for medicine far before the introduction of tobacco from the New World in the 19th century, and most I have looked at seem to contain the residue of white powders, not what seems to be tobacco.

Search for “snuff bottle” on Ebay

  • 15,603 on 12/18/2015 including 3,165 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,220 on 01/11/2016 including 3,152 auctioned in 10 days
  • 14,078 on 01/24/2016 including 2,332 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,149 on 03/26/2016 including 2,882 auctioned in 10 days
  • 12,971 on 04/12/2016 including 2,217 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,073 on 04/26/2016 including 2,689 auctioned in 10 days
  • 16,264 on 07/08/2016 including 3,143 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,914 on 08/28/2016 including 2,901 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,388 on 10/05/2016 including 2,583 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,679 on 05/09/2017 including 2,567 auctioned in 10 days

Though some confiscations of snuff bottles apparently may have been taken from drug addicts, many of them are also very ancient, as ancient as civilization itself in China and Tibet is, and could have been used to store one of thousands and thousands of other medicines. Many were also family heirlooms, handed down for generations, full of fine artistic and sentimental value without any contents.

Ancient alabaster bottle with cloud dragons.
Ancient alabaster bottle with cloud dragons.

Guanyin, the female patron saint of China, is often depicted with a “snuff bottle” in hand- indicating the long use of these symbolic little bottles as medicine for people.
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