Venue：No. 2 Exhibition Hall
Ceramics constitutes an indispensible part of Chinese civilization, while porcelain is a unique invention of the Chinese people. From the Tang dynasty on at latest, Chinese wares began to be shipped to foreign countries in large quantities. In the Song-Yuan period, kilns for trade ceramics spread all over the coastal areas in Southeast China, and the ceramic trade continued to flourish during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Most of the porcelain was manufactured in Jingdezhen then, while Zhangzhou and Dehua in Fujian province were also important kilns of trade wares. Before the mid-Ming period, Chinese ceramics were mainly circulated within Asia and Africa, while afterwards, Europe and America became the most import markets for Chinese porcelain.
In this exhibition, more than 160 objects from the Palace Museum and the Shanghai Museum are selected to illustrate the evolution of Chinese ceramic trade during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The exhibition is composed of two sections. The Ming section includes wares for Southeast Asia, West Asia, Japan and Europe in the mid-to-late Ming dynasty, revealing the popularity and circulation of Ming porcelain in those regions and demonstrating diversified demands and tastes of different markets. In the Qing dynasty, the porcelain trade was dominated by the East India Companies, and therefore, the Qing section comprises mainly porcelain for the European and American regions. Many exhibits have distinctive exotic flavors, reflecting the changes of export porcelain during the Qing dynasty.
We hope this exhibition may offer a glimpse into the basic features and evolution of Chinese porcelain trade in the Ming and Qing periods, and further our understanding of the diversified requirements and tastes of different markets then.