Porcelain for the Emperor
Manufacture and Technocracy in Qing China
- PUBLISHED: March 2023
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, Art History / Asian Art
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 248 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 24 b&w illus., 23 color plates
- ISBN: 9780295750828
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
The exquisite ceramic ware produced at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory at Jingdezhen in southern China functioned as a kind of visual propaganda for the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) court. Porcelain for the Emperor charts the career of bannerman Tang Ying, a technocrat in the porcelain industry, through the first half of the eighteenth century to uncover the wider role of specialist officials in producing the technological knowledge and distinctive artistic forms that were essential to cultural policies of the Chinese state. Through fiscal management, technical experimentation, and design, these imperial technocrats facilitated rationalized manufacturing in precapitalist and preindustrial society.
Drawing on museum collections and firsthand archaeological evidence, as well as the voluminous Archive of the Imperial Workshops, this book contributes new insights to scholarship on global empires and the history of science and technology in China. Readers will learn how the imperial state’s intervention in industry left a lingering imprint on modern China through its modes of labor-intensive production, the division of domestic and foreign markets, and, above all, a technocratic culture of centralization.
Authors & Contributors
Kai Jun Chen is assistant professor of East Asian studies at Brown University.
A significant contribution to the study of Qing material culture and art history and to our understanding of the mechanisms of Qing rule itself.- Laura Hostetler, author of Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China
This insightful study opens a window on a neglected group of Qing officials: the Manchu bannermen technocrats who supervised industrial production for the emperor. Following the career of one talented man—an industrial manager, archivist, ethnographer, experimental innovator, and literary artist all in one—the author reveals fascinating details about the material base of the Qing empire. It is a fine contribution to the study of imperial knowledge production and Chinese technological development.- Peter C. Perdue, author of China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia
Careful, scholarly, and urbane, this study wil contribute greatly to a new understanding of the work of Tang Ying and the production of porcelain under the Qing emperors.- Claudia Brown, author of Great Qing: Painting in China, 1644–1911