Exhibition Explores Curious History of Blue and White Porcelain Imitations

The Graduate Institute of Art History and NTU Library teamed up to organize an exhibition exploring the curious history of blue and white ceramics made in the style of China's famed imperial porcelain in various places around the world. Called "A Special Exhibition of Blue and White Ceramics: Is There Anything More to Say?," the exhibition occupied the central hall of the Main Library from March 10 to June 9.

The unorthodox blue and white ceramics were produced in such places as China's remote Yunnan region as well as Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and even Europe in a style mimicking the globally renowned porcelain fired in the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen, China.

The exhibition was presented in three sections on the three L-shaped display walls in the central hall of the library. The sections "Imitation and Re-Interpretation" and "Misinterpretation and Appropriation" offered interpretations of special characteristics of the ceramics produced by each of the unofficial manufacturers through imitation or innovative modification of the Jingdezhen style. The section "Competition and Mass Production" displayed ceramic products that were developed in Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand in attempts to obtain a share of the enormous global porcelain market.

A book display area occupied the center of the exhibition space. Displayed in both original and translated versions, Robert Finlay's influential work The Pilgrim Art: Cultures of Porcelain in World History was selected by the organizers to represent the exhibition's guiding spirit. All of the books put on display were obtained from the library's archives.