Paintings of the Porcelain Production Process in the Qing Dynasty 

Series of paintings about porcelain production for export           外銷的製瓷連環圖
This series of 34 watercolour paintings is a unique documentation of the production of Jingdezhen porcelain in the 18th century. The series was intended for the Western market, and was in the tradition of export paintings used to explain and illustrate Chinese culture to the West. The current set of trade paintings is characterised by its illustration of: the division of labour, the logistics of transporting the porcelain for both imperial and export commissions, and the foreign merchants in Canton (now Guangzhou). These kinds of work were produced at painting studios in Canton and later in Hong Kong, where an export market for Chinese decorative arts thrived. 本組34幅製瓷連環圖,以水彩繪成,為十八世紀清代景德鎮製瓷工序的難得紀錄。這類畫專為外銷西方市場,一貫形象化地說明中國文化的各種面貌。   各圖詳細顯示陶匠分工、官窰及外銷瓷器的製運,以及廣州夷商的活動。中國外銷畫起源於廣州的畫室,當地外國商人(夷商)雲集,形成中國工藝品活躍的交易市場,隨後外銷畫畫室亦於香港興起。
Making Porcelain in Jingdezhen 景德鎮製瓷業
The availability of raw materials, such as porcelain stone, kaolin clay and wood, as well as access to water for the transport of raw materials and finished products, were vital to the development of the porcelain industry in Jingdezhen.                              景德鎮地理位置優越,四通八達的水道配合船運系統,有利運輸瓷石、高嶺土、木材等原料,以及瓷器成品,大大促進當地製瓷業發展。
Porcelain in the time of the Canton Trade             廣州貿易時期的瓷器
The ancient art of Chinese porcelain making stretches as far back as the 7th or 8th century. It has developed and evolved into various forms through the years, yet its fundamental qualities remain distinct. It differs from other ceramics due to its tough, smooth, white, shiny, translucent and resonant qualities. Starting in the 16th century, the export of large quantities of porcelain to the West meant that it became more widely known. This, in turn, dramatically increased the market for porcelain and provided a new type of consumer for the Chinese porcelain maker, one who responded to changes in taste. At the same time, the elegance and durability of Chinese porcelain stimulated Western countries to develop their own ceramic industries and sparked industrial innovation.                                中國古代製瓷工藝最早可追溯至唐代。經年累月,製瓷技術已達爐火純青,並衍生出各式名窰佳器。瓷器堅硬、細密、雪白、光亮、敲聲清脆,已成為廣受歡迎的器物。   自明代十六世紀起中國瓷器大量出口西方,而廣泛知名。隨著外銷市場的擴大,中國瓷匠靈活變通,擅於生產迎合西方品味的瓷品。歐洲社會對典雅耐用的中國瓷器趨之若鶩,遂渴求發展陶瓷業,並掀起工業革新。

The 'Trading China' exhibition held in Pacific Basin Shipping Gallery, Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

A porcelain commission is brought to Raozhou

Mining the clay and carrying it down the mountain

Crushing the clay with a water wheel

Buffalo trampling the clay

Sieving the clay

Moulding the clay into bricks

Transporting clay bricks

Shaping the pot on a wheel

Perfecting the shape


Cutting firewood for the kilns

Filling the kiln

Lighting the kiln

Removing the porcelain from the kiln

A Chinese merchant travels to Jingdezhen

A porcelain dealer greets a customer

A porcelain dealer’s banquet

Fixing the price of the wares

Decorating the wares in enamel colours

Inspecting wares in an open stove

Making barrels in which to transport the porcelain

Wrapping bowls in woven straw

Packing the wares in barrels

Crossing the Poyang Lake

Descending from the mountain pass

Westerners rowing up from Whampoa to Canton, for the cargo

Painting wares for export in a variety of colours

Refiring in a closed stove

European merchants at a porcelain shop

Offerings to the god of fire, in thanks for the acquisition of wealth

The 'Trading China' exhibition held in Pacific Basin Shipping Gallery, Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

Canton enamelled dish with an English sailing ship, late 18th century

Gilded porcelain coffee pot in underglaze blue with a view of the Calcutta waterfront, c.1790

Covered pear-shaped coffee pot decorated in iron-red and oxidized silver with the arms of the Royal Prussian Bengal Company of Emden, 1750s

Credits: Story

In memory of Mrs Susan Chen Hardy.

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