Het project / The project

Project Description


A brief outline

Throughout a long and chequered history, the Porzellansammlung Dresden has preserved, beside the unique collection of Meissen porcelain, one of the largest and most important holdings of Chinese and Japanese porcelain which date from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Acquired primarily during the time of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733), elector of Saxony and King of Poland, these East Asian porcelain treasures were not only exceptionally well documented but the original written inventories are still largely extant. Such a combination of this early extensive collection of nearly 8000 East Asian porcelain objects and their contemporary descriptions exits nowhere else in the world.

The current research project on these holdings will, for the first time, offer a complete overview of the former Royal Porcelain Collection in relation to the unpublished original 18th century inventories. For anyone interested in the impact of East Asia on European culture, the forming of encyclopaedic collections and the history of Oriental porcelain in the West, this study will be of invaluable importance. For the history of Oriental Porcelain it additionally offers an in- depth survey of trade and taste; it provides tools for dating and will act as the primary reference guide to establish the authenticity of similar objects in other world collections. Moreover, a thorough evaluation of the unique 18th century documents will provide a new understanding of the role that East Asian porcelain played during these early stages of globalisation. As part of this research project the iconographical subjects depicted on the vessels will be systematically identified. The impact of this art form beyond its mere functionality, but as an exotic and luxury commodity which helped shape the knowledge, comprehension and development of cultural and artistic exchange between China, Japan and Europe at that time will be further explored and contextualised. Additionally, there will be a separately funded collaboration with the Institute of Mediengestaltung und Computergraphik & Visualisierung, TU-Dresden, to develop 3-D-Scans to find new and innovative ways to convey porcelain objects.

Together with Prof. Dr. Christiaan Jörg as academic supervisor and an international group of experts in the field, the Porzellansammlung aims to produce a comprehensive reference work and the definitive source for future research in the field of Chinese and Japanese export porcelain of the 17th and early 18th century. There will be a published catalogue in English and the information gleaned in the research process will also be made available in digital format. High resolution photography will accompany the book and data entries to ensure that the objects are perfectly illustrated.

The Museum Research Foundation is generously supporting this immense undertaking and has ensured work on the primary aspects of the project can begin. Work includes the transcription and translation of the original 18th century inventories and the photography of c. 8000 objects.

Our cooperative partners are:

University of Heidelberg Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens (Prof. Sarah Fraser)

TU-Dresden Institute für Mediengestaltung und Computergraphik & Visualisierung (Prof. Stefan Gumhold, Prof. Rainer Groh)

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Victoria and Albert Museum London

Helmoltz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

The SKD is looking for external supporters, individuals or companies, who will help us rise to the challenge of this exciting and significant project and who will, through their generous sponsorship of all, or specific aspects of the project, guarantee that this publication will attain the highest scholarly and academic standards of excellence. Through this funding the SKD will thereby be able to guarantee any potential sponsor that this project will be completed.

Please remit your donation to :
Friends of the Porcelain Project Dresden, bank ING, The Netherlands, IBAN: < NL65 INGB 0006 7968 04> BIC/SWIFT: <INGBNL2A>

Many Thanks !