"According to Dr. Curtis, with the decline of the imperial court of the Ming dynasty in the early years of the seventeenth century, patronage of the kilns at Jingdezhen shifted to the scholar-official and merchant classes. Then, at the end of the century, as the Manchu established control over the country under a new dynasty, the Qing (1644-1911), patronage of the kilns was returned again to the imperial court. As a result, during much of the seventeenth century, the decorative schemes which appeared on the pots reflected the interests and concerns of non-imperial patronage groups - the scholar-officials and merchants. Taken in combination with the evidence of the painting on the pots themselves, the argument was compelling and intellectually elegant. As is so often the case in art exhibitions, the scholarship represents many years of hard work exploring collections, gathering information, trying out theoretical models, and constantly refining views and perceptions. This is certainly true of this exhibition; Julia Curtis has unstintingly thrown herself into the task for over a decade. In the writing of the catalogue, she has produced a noteworthy new body of research on the significance of the inscriptions, both prose and poetic, which are found on many of the porcelains." excerpt from the foreword by Candance J. Lewis, Director of the China Institute Gallery.
Published by China Institute Gallery, New York, 1995
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