Ming porcelain is widely regarded among the world's finest cultural treasures. From ordinary household items patiently refined for imperial use, porcelain became a dynamic force in domestic consumption in China and a valuable commodity in export trade. In the modern era, it has reached unprecedented heights in art auctions and other avenues of global commerce. This book examines the impact of consumption on the evolution of porcelain and its transformation into a foreign cultural icon. The book begins with an examination of ways in which porcelain was appreciated in Ming China, followed by a discussion of encounters with Ming porcelain in several global regions including Europe and the Americas. The book also looks at the invention of the phrase and concept of 'the Ming vase' in English-speaking cultures and concludes with a history of the transformation of Ming porcelain into works of art.
Stacey Pierson is a senior lecturer in the History of Chinese ceramics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.