The desire for the luxury goods of China (tea, silk, and porcelain) was the motivating factor for a global competition to establish and maintain trading networks to Asia. “Chinese export ceramics,” a hybrid art executed in materials not available in the West until the eighteenth century, became part of this commodities trade.
This ceramic art reflected the needs of the Western customer and the artistic traditions of the Chinese craftsmen—a meeting and mingling of cultures and art that produced a new, unique and engaging category of decorative and fine art.
For five hundred years, since the founding of the sea trade, Chinese porcelain and stoneware have been collected by traders from around the world. The history of the finest and the most common wares will be explored through visual records and surviving collections of Chinese export ceramics.
SPEAKER: William R. Sargent
William R. Sargent is an independent scholar and curator, and former H. A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum. He has presented well over 250 lectures on Asian export art throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Macau, Hong Kong and China. His publications include The Copeland Collection: Chinese and Japanese Ceramic Figures (1991) and Views of the Pearl River Delta: Macao, Canton and Hong Kong (1996). He contributed an essay for Chinese Ceramics: Neolithic to Qing (Yale University Press, 2010) and in 2012 published Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics at the Peabody Essex Museum (2012), winner of The American Ceramic Circle Book of the Year Award, 2013. In 2013 he published Chinese Porcelain in The Conde Collection, which is available in English and Spanish editions. Currently he is a Senior Consultant in Chinese Art with Bonhams (USA) and a guest curator with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.