Enfilade

Exhibition | Trading China: Paintings of the Porcelain Production Process

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 27, 2016

From the Hong Kong Maritime Museum:

Trading China: Paintings of the Porcelain Production Process in the Qing Dynasty
Hong Kong Maritime Museum, 23 October 2015 — 1 May 2016

2224_Trading_ChinaThis special exhibition showcases a series of 34 paintings recently acquired by the Museum that document the process of making and trading porcelain from the famous Jingdezhen kilns, from mining the clay to selling the porcelain to foreign merchants through local dealers. Painted for the Western market, these illustrations vividly capture the work of the many specialised labourers as well as the way in which the trade and transport of the finished porcelain was arranged.

From the 16th century, Western demand for Chinese porcelain, exported through Guangzhou, grew. The technique of overglaze enamel painting, which originated in the imperial workshops, was used at Jingdezhen from the early 18th century for the production of imperial, domestic and export wares, reinforcing its role as China’s largest porcelain production centre. This style was very popular and led to innovations in ceramic production in Europe.

The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is grateful to the late Susan Chen Hardy for her generous donation of this collection of paintings. Susan was a long-time supporter of the Museum and a passionate connoisseur and collector of Chinese art. She and her husband Anthony Hardy have made significant contributions to the Museum and we are very pleased to welcome this exceptional series of paintings into our permanent collection.

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The bi-lingual catalogue is available here

Trading China: Paintings of the Porcelain Production Process in the Qing Dynasty (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Maritime Museum, 2015), 88 pages, ISBN: 978-9881823380, HK$100.

This catalogue features a series of 34 paintings recently acquired by the Museum. The paintings document the process of making and trading porcelain from the famous Jingdezhen kilns in the 18th century. Introductory articles and appendices on surveys of Qing paintings on the porcelain production process in other collections are also included.

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A set of twelve Chinese pictures depicting the porcelain production process (from about 1803 and formerly belonging to Lord Grenville, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) was shown at the Indianapolis Museum of Art as part of The Luxury of Tea and Coffee: An Exhibition of Chinese Export Porcelain from a Private Collection (April 2011 – March 2012). That set of gouaches has since been sold by Thomas Coulborn & Sons.

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