The reception and consumption of Chinese porcelain in Europe and the New World, 16th and 17th centuries
Teresa Canepa is a member of the Council of the Oriental Ceramic Society, and co-editor of the OCS Newsletter since 2017. She completed a PhD in Art History at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and is author of Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500-1644 (Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2016); and Jingdezhen to the World: The Lurie Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain from the Late Ming Dynasty (Ad Ilissvm, London, 2019). She has published a number of articles and lectured widely on these subjects.
A few pieces of Chinese porcelain are known to have arrived to Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, along the famous overland route, the Silk Road, that traversed the heartland of the Eurasian continent or by ship through the Persian Gulf or Red Sea to Turkey, Egypt and Venice. The great maritime voyages of exploration launched by Portugal and Spain at the end of the 15th century in search of the Spice Islands, culminated in Bartolomeu Dias’s discovery of a route to the Indian Ocean round the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, and Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World, four years later, in 1492, which opened up direct sea trade routes between Europe, the New World, Africa and Asia via both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. By the beginning of the 17th century, trading companies from the Northern Netherlands/Dutch Republic and England began to take part in the trade to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope and partly gained control of the Asian maritime trade. This online lecture will briefly examine textual, material and visual sources that provide information on the various types of Chinese porcelain that were imported to Europe and the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the different ways in which they were acquired, appreciated and used within the respective societies.