Pair of Ewers

Object Details

Title:

Pair of Ewers

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Chinese

Date:

porcelain 1662 - 1722; mounts 1745 - 1749

Medium:

Hard-paste porcelain, celadon ground color, underglaze blue and copper red decoration; gilt bronze mounts

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Voltaire, one of France's most popular playwrights and philosophers in the 1700s, summarized the feelings of his country when he wrote that Europeans could do nothing but "admire, blush and, above all, imitate" the works of the Chinese civilization. The French fascination with Chinese objects can be seen in these vases, whose mounts made them into ewers that were intended to be admired but never used.

To learn more about the market for mounted porcelain, scholars rely on the sales ledgers kept by Lazare Duvaux, an important Parisian marchand-mercier, between 1748 and 1758. From this book they learn who collected mounted porcelain (practically all his wealthy clients) and how much it cost. Duvaux would have purchased the porcelain unmounted and then commissioned French craftsmen to produce the elaborate gilt bronze mounts.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Chinese Porcelains in European Mounts (October 22, 1980 to January 25, 1981)
  • China House Gallery, China Institute in America, (New York), October 22, 1980 to January 25, 1981, (Cat.)
Mounted Oriental Porcelain (December 2, 1986 to August 23, 1987)
  • The Frick Collection, (New York), December 2, 1986 to March 1, 1987, (Cat.)
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, (Kansas City), March 28 to May 24, 1987, (Cat.)
  • Center for the Fine Arts, (Miami), June 13 to August 23, 1987, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Watson, Francis. Chinese Porcelains in European Mounts (New York, 1980), p. 52, no. 28.

Watson, Francis. "Chinese Porcelain in European Mounts." Orientations 12, no. 9 (September 1981), pp. 26-33.

Watson, Francis. Mounted Oriental Porcelain (Washington, D.C., 1986), no. 19.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 153-54, no. 257.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 201.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 132-33, no. 268.

Coutts, Howard. The Art of Ceramics: European Ceramic Design 1500-1830 (New Haven, 2001), p. 107, fig. 128.