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Pair of Lidded Vases

Unknownabout 1622–1722

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

From the 1600s through the 1800s, the Chinese made vases such as this pair for the European market, and wealthy Europeans eagerly collected them. Many European princes and nobles amassed large collections of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, installing them in rooms known as "China cabinets." There, porcelains decorated entire walls, with vases, plates, and cups set on brackets or overmantels, in cabinets, and along shelves or even the floor.

For centuries, Europeans considered Chinese and Japanese porcelain an exotic and rare material that only the upper classes could afford. Europeans finally discovered the formula and ingredients for "true" or hard-paste porcelain in the early decades of the 1700s.

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