We think of blue and white porcelain as the ultimate global commodity: throughout East and Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean including the African coasts, the Americas and Europe, consumers desired Chinese porcelains. Many of these were made in the kilns in and surrounding Jingdezhen. Found in almost every part of the world, Jingdezhen's porcelains had a far-reaching impact on global consumption, which in turn shaped the local manufacturing processes. The imperial kilns of Jingdezhen produced ceramics for the court, while nearby private kilns manufactured for the global market. In this beautifully illustrated study, Anne Gerritsen asks how this kiln complex could manufacture such quality, quantity and variety. She explores how objects tell the story of the past, connecting texts with objects, objects with natural resources, and skilled hands with the shapes and designs they produced. Through the manufacture and consumption of Jingdezhen's porcelains, she argues, China participated in the early modern world.
1. The shard market of Jingdezhen; 2. City of imperial choice: Jingdezhen, 1000–1200; 3. Circulations of white; 4. From Cizhou to Jizhou: the long history of the emergence of blue and white porcelain; 5. From Jizhou to Jingdezhen in the fourteenth century: the emergence of blue and white and the circulations of people and things; 6. Blue and white porcelain and the fifteenth-century world; 7. The city of blue and white: visualizing space in Ming Jingdezhen, 1500–1600; 8. Anxieties over resources in sixteenth-century Jingdezhen; 9. Skilled hands: managing human resources and skill in the sixteenth-century imperial kilns; 10. Material circulations in the sixteenth century; 11. Local and global in Jingdezhen's long seventeenth century; 12. Epilogue: fragments of a global past.
Anne Gerritsen is Professor of History and directs the Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick. Since 2013, she has also held the Chair of Asian Art at the Universiteit Leiden where she teaches at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) and the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS).
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