East Meets West

Chinese Export Porcelain

“Chinese export porcelain” refers to a wide range of porcelain that was made almost exclusively for export to Europe and North America between the 16th and 20th century. Chinese porcelains were first introduced to Europe in the 14th century and swiftly became prized as objects of great rarity and luxury. By the early 16th century Portugal began commercial trade with Asia in earnest, spurring Chinese potters to produce objects specifically for Western consumption. Demand steadily increased in Europe and eventually in America who, after gaining their independence in 1776, entered into direct trade with China. Export porcelain wares served as status symbols and by the end of the 20th century became increasingly collected by connoisseurs. They remain an exotic addition to any interior and serve as a physical manifestation of both the history of trade and the globalization of art and culture.