S.T. Lee Lecture | John Guy – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Dr John Guy | Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
China in India: Trading and Collecting Porcelain in Early Islamic India
John will be introduced and responded to by Jackie Menzies, Emeritus Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of NSW.
These ceramics arrived in South and West Asia from the middle Tang Dynasty, via the Silk Road and maritime routes. By the early ninth century, unprecedented commercial quantities arrived by the sea routes, as most spectacularly witnessed by the discovery in the Java Sea of the Belitung shipwreck cargo. The Muslim courts of India and West were major markets for the porcelain producers of southern China in the Yuan and early Ming periods. In the course of the first half of the 14th century, the kilns at Jingdezhen, in northern Jiangxi Province, began to produce radically new types of porcelain.
These wares were different in all major respects from what had gone before: form, design and colouring techniques all represented a dramatic break from the past. Yuan blue-and-white was in production in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, and after civil strife which appears to have partially disrupted production, was revived in the early Ming. Unlike the monochrome wares that were the hallmark of the Song period, these newly-devised shapes with complex painted underglaze cobalt blue decoration were first conceived for a foreign clientele, the Islamic markets of West Asia. Forms mainly imitated contemporary Islamic metalwork vessels, especially the engraved and inlaid brass wares of Mamluk Egypt and Iran. The Muslim courts of Central and West Asia and the Sultanate rulers of northern India provided a highly discerning market for these wares. The Mughals and their predecessors had a common Mongol ancestry linking them to the Timurid royal house of Ferghana, sharing a taste for the finest porcelains known.
About Dr John Guy
Dr John Guy is Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He is well published and has produced major exhibitions. He joined the Met’s Asian Department in 2008 after 22 years at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where he was Senior Curator of Indian Art, with responsibility for the sculpture collections.
He has acted as an advisor to UNESCO on historical sites in Southeast Asia and worked in partnership with government archaeological agencies in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, including at the sites of Wat Phu in Laos and My Son in Vietnam, assisting in documenting for World Heritage listing. Other projects have included maritime excavations, most recently the Hoi An shipwreck cargo in Vietnam, the Belitung shipwreck in Indonesia, and the Phanom Surin shipwreck cargo in Thailand. He is a fellow of the London Society of Antiquities and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Wednesday 15 September 2021, 8:00-9:00pm
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