Objectifying China: Ming and Qing Dynasty Ceramics and Their Stylistic Influences Abroad

Contributors: University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU

Elegant and resistant to heat and moisture, Chinese porcelain of various shapes and colours has been exported to Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world for thousands of years. Like all successful inventions, porcelain inspired competition. While kilns in Asia had been producing a wide variety of ceramics in imitation of Chinese wares since the late Tang period (618–907), European attempts to imitate porcelain were unsuccessful until the process was finally unlocked in Meissen, Germany in 1709. The results proved so popular that by the end of the century factories across Europe were producing hybrid works that combined the best features of European and Asian design.

Presented with the generous support of Robert Black College and Lotus Fine Arts Logistics, the UMAG exhibition Objectifying China ran from 9 Dec 2017 to 19 Mar 2018, featuring works from UMAG, the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. The exhibition explored how the international trade in ceramics spread styles, forms and manufacturing technologies throughout different regions. These exchanges dramatically altered the course of Asian and European art, producing objects prized for their exotic origins, superior technology and beauty.

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