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Porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasty Imperial Kilns: Archaeological Finds at the Palace Museum and in Jingdezhen


Location:Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong)

Dates: 2016-10-25 through 2017-02-26

The emperors of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties sought to demonstrate their imperial supremacy in many ways, including through the porcelain manufactured in the imperial kilns. Possession or use of this porcelain was forbidden for all outside the imperial family, except with the emperor’s permission, and the design, manufacture, use and disposal of these items was kept under strict surveillance. Imperial authorities at the court would send out each official design to the imperial kilns, which then manufactured products according to it. Those products that passed quality testing would be sent to the imperial court and distributed among imperial family members according to their levels in the hierarchy, while those that did not meet the standard would be destroyed collectively. If damage occurred in use, the objects would also be collected and buried. The entire process was subject to rigorous scrutiny to safeguard the royal privilege and supremacy that the imperial porcelain symbolized.

  Porcelain from the imperial kilns of the Ming and Qing dynasties was designed, authorized, manufactured and used in a closed-cycle system including design, manufacture and management stages. It was this well-developed production system that guaranteed the exclusiveness of the imperial porcelain. The system therefore reflected the broader imperial autocracy of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

  This exhibition, a result of archaeological collaboration between the Palace Museum, Jingdezhen Ceramic Archaeology Institute and other partners ,will introduce visitors to the beautiful imperial porcelain as well as the ways in which it was produced and managed, enabling them to understand how the requisition and production of imperial items formed a part of the politics of the court and the system of government.                                

Organized by:           

The Palace Museum

Jingdezhen Ceramic Archaeology Institute

 Supported by:

Jiangxi Province Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology

Archaeology and Museology School of Peking University


Temporary Closure

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