Out of the Ordinary: Living with Chinese Export Porcelain
The focus of this catalogue will be on the more unusual items of this trade, frequently ordered in smaller quantities and through private trade. Most of the items in this group imitate Western prototypes made in metal, ceramics or glass, and can also be characterized by their functionality. Set apart from the more customary plates, dishes and tureens that made up the majority of the export porcelain trade, this group includes egg cups, strainers, cutlery handles, pudding moulds, custard pots, ladles, funnels, bulb pots, snuff boxes, cane handles, barber’s bowls and chamber pots, among other shapes. The sheer variety of forms in this group is a testimony to the significant reach of the porcelain trade as well as the remarkable adaptability of the Chinese potter. Made to order according to the latest fashions, this group also provides an insight into the contemporary consumer society of Europe during this period. The popularity of new, exotic and luxury products such as tea, coffee, chocolate and various spices, as well as alcoholic beverages, stimulated new habits and the need for a variety of porcelain utensils. Also used for personal grooming, fashionable accessories and for furnishing the home, Chinese export porcelain permeated many aspects of daily life during this period.