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Porcelain for the Emperor: Chinese Ceramics of the Kangxi Reign (1662–1722)

August 7, 2010–September 5, 2011

The Kangxi emperor, who ruled China from 1662 to 1722, was a connoisseur of the arts who took a particular interest in ceramics. In the 1680s, he ordered the reactivation of the imperial porcelain factory at Jingdezhen; by the end of his reign there were more than three thousand workshops producing wares for the imperial court as well as for China's thriving domestic and export markets. Porcelain for the Emperor showcases the extraordinary technical and aesthetic achievements of the Kangxi-era potters.

The works on view take a dazzling array of forms: cylindrical, square, hexagonal, gourd-shaped, trumpet-mouthed. Some have lids with fanciful knobs in the shape of lions. The pieces are decorated with intricate pictorial motifs inspired by nature, literature, and mythology in a brilliant palette of glazes and enamel colors.

Marking the first time in several decades that a large selection of the Museum's holdings of Kangxi porcelain is on view, Porcelain for the Emperor is installed in an appropriately grand setting—the seventeenth-century Reception Hall from the palace of Duke Zhao of Beijing.

Main Building


Felice Fischer, The Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian Art

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