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Made for Trade-Made in China. Chinese export paintings in Dutch collections: art and commodity

Rosalien van der Poel

978 90 819129 2 1
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Publication date:
30 November 2016

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The starting point for this study is that for a large part of their existence, the paintings belonging to this genre have primarily been seen as export articles without intrinsic artistic value. This fact, and the fact that they cannot be unequivocally classified, explains why this genre has, for a long time, not received the attention it deserves. The label ‘exportware’, though, does not exclude that these paintings can also be approached as ‘art’. They have an historic, an artistic, and a material value, which, as a result of their representative and social functions, over time formed an artistic phenomenon in its own right, and a shared cultural visual repertoire with its own (Eurasian) character. In order to draw conclusions about the appreciation of the extensive and historically valuable eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Chinese export paintings in Dutch public collections, this multidisciplinary research follows the entire trajectory of this specific transcultural painting genre in sixteen museums, from the production two centuries ago to the current position. At work in this trajectory are mechanisms between people, institutions and the paintings, which increase or, indeed, diminish the appreciation of this time- and place-specific art.


Rosalien van der Poel is Chief Cabinet and Protocol of Leiden University. Besides this position she is Research Associate for China at Museum Volkenkunde, National Museum of World Cultures. Since 2001, Van der Poel has been a member of the Asian Art Society in the Netherlands (VVAK), the Society of Dutch Art Historians (VNK), International Council of Museum NL (ICOM) and the Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History. She is a subscriber to, among other literature, The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), Shilin and Aziatische Kunst. Currently, she is coordinating the Leiden Asia Year 2017. In this year The Asian Library of Leiden University will open its doors. She successfully defended her PhD thesis last November 2016.



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