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“The Porcelain Room” at the Fondazione Prada is the new stunning exhibition in Milan
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“The Porcelain Room” at the Fondazione Prada is the new stunning temporary exhibition launched yesterday in Milan that you must see this month.

Curated by Jorge Welsh and Luísa Vinhais, the exhibition explores the historical context, scope and impact of Chinese exported porcelain.

The exhibition on view on the 4th floor of Torre gathers more than 1,700 individual Chinese export porcelains. “The Porcelain Room” brings together examples of porcelains made from the 16th to the 19th centuries for different markets, religions, and social groups. In this project is illustrated how efficient the Chinese were in understanding the taste and the demand of each segment of the market. They tailor their production accordingly to the style of the time.

The beginning and core of “The Porcelain Room” has been called first orders. It constitutes the largest number of early 16th to mid-17th-century ming dynasty porcelains with European iconography ever shown together. During the ming dynasty (1368-1644) the export market became progressively important, firstly with the celadon and underglaze blue porcelains. Once Europeans started trading and commissioning porcelains to bring back to the west, they quickly became the first truly global commodities. 

First-order is a term usually attributed to the first commissions of Chinese porcelains by the Portuguese after their arrival in China. They were the first ones to order porcelain decorated with western iconography. These early orders are extremely rare. With only around 150 having survived to the present day. For the exhibition, over 45 examples have been selected, on loan from both public and private collections.

The second part consists of a wide selection of daily use objects interpreted as natural forms representing animals, fruits, and vegetables. These explore the impact and exoticism of Chinese tableware made for western markets. Created around the 1760s, the pieces aimed to amuse guests dining in wealthy households.

The sources for these shapes were mostly western ceramic examples that were produced across European factories.


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