Pair of Ewers

Object Details


Pair of Ewers






porcelain 1662–1722; mounts 1745–1749


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
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
Mounted Oriental Porcelain (December 2, 1986 to August 23, 1987)
  • The Frick Collection (New York), December 2, 1986 to March 1, 1987
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City), March 28 to May 24, 1987
  • Center for the Fine Arts (Miami), June 13 to August 23, 1987
Education Resources

Education Resource




New Forms from Old

Students learn how the original use of objects can be changed to create new objects with new functions.

Visual Arts


Three/Five-Part Lesson