Xiaoyi Diana Yang and Angelika Kuettner Virtual Dialogue on Zhangzhou Porcelains
Xiaoyi Diana Yang, PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow at the Bard Graduate Center, chose to study Zhangzhou porcelain because she wanted to do something different. On June 3, 2021, Diana shared her research on Zhangzhou porcelains, known as “Swatow ware” to Western collectors and connoisseurs, during a virtual program for the Decorative Arts Trust. Diana was then joined in conversation with Angelika Kuettner, Associate Curator of Ceramics and Glass at Colonial Williamsburg, before they answered questions from the audience.
Diana began her presentation with images from archeological digs at kiln sites in Zhangzhou City, China. Zhangzhou porcelains were produced in kilns built into the mountainsides. A wide variety of porcelains were exported from Zhangzhou, including polychrome porcelains, monochrome cobalt porcelains, and even earthenwares with lead glazes. This versatility contributed to the popularity and marketability of Zhangzhou ceramics.
These wares were not particularly popular in China, and Diana emphasized that Zhangzhou products lacked the refinement and delicacy that Ming Chinese markets demanded. From the second half of the 16th century, almost all of the Zhangzhou ware was intended for export, with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan as prominent markets. She detailed different types of ornamentation and uses for Zhangzhou exports.
Joined in conversation with Angelika Kuettner, they discussed two pieces of Zhangzhou ware discovered in North America (both decorated with white slip dragons), the archeological history of Zhangzhou wares, the use of the wares in Japan, and much more. The program ended with a lively question-and-answer session with attendees.
Watch the video below:
The Decorative Arts Trust hosts monthly virtual dialogues that feature scholars sharing and discussing their exciting new research with colleagues in the field. The hour-long Zoom program includes a lecture, scholar-to-scholar conversation, and Q&A with the program participants.
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Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.