Porcelain Cities & China Trade
Jingdezhen has been the porcelain capital since the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 9 A.D. and again, 25-220 A.D.). Before trade with the west and for more than 1,000 years, porcelain was produced for the exclusive use of the Chinese emperors and their courts. Trade routes with China both overland and by sea are well documented throughout the centuries. Canton, the Pearl River, and the Whampoa anchorage are all synonymous with porcelain.
The East India Company was formed in 1600 AD to regulate trade between East and West. Porcelain was considered “ballast” for the sailing ships to be used as packing amongst the precious cargo of silks and tea. Europeans were delighted with the pieces of porcelain deemed of not sufficient quality for the native Chinese. Today pieces of export porcelain are valued for their rarity and variety.