Global by Design will focus on the period—from the late 16th to the 18th century—when Chinese porcelain became a global luxury, transforming both the European ceramic industry and styles of dining and drinking. Featuring 60 exquisite and unusual pieces, this presentation will challenge the long-standing, and overly rigid, tradition of cataloguing Chinese ceramics as domestic or trade items. In addition to exploring the trade in Chinese ceramics within Asia, the exhibition will focus on the development of shapes and designs that reflect the long history of exchange between China and the Islamic world as well as the period—the late 16th century—when works reflecting both the Chinese and Islamic traditions were introduced and incorporated into Europe and the Americas.
This exhibition will also explore the ways in which 18th-century artists, when faced with the global idioms that had developed at the time, made artistic choices that allowed them to create an endless range of spectacular and visually imaginative works. On loan to The Met from an important Brazilian private collection, the porcelains in Global by Design have never before been exhibited.
Garniture with scenes of West Lake, ca. 1700. China, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under a transparent glaze; Jars, H. 40 3/4 in., Vases, H. 35 5/8 in. R. Albuquerque Collection