Chinese ceramics are among the most significant and widely collected decorative arts produced anywhere in the world, with a history that spans millennia. Despite the saturation of Chinese ceramics in global culture—in English, the word “china” has become synonymous with “porcelain”—the function of these works and the meaning of their often richly decorated surfaces are not always readily apparent.
This new installment in the successful How to Read series enlightens readers on Chinese ceramics of all kinds, using highlights from the outstanding collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a teaching tool. Accessible to a general audience and written by an expert on the subject, this book explains and interprets 40 masterworks of Chinese ceramics. The works represent a broad range of subject matter and type, from ancient earthenware to 20th-century porcelain, and from plates and bowls to vases and sculptural figures. Lavish illustrations showcase these stunning works and the decorations that adorn them, including symbolic scenes, flowers, and Buddhist and Chinese historical figures.