Porcelain for the Emperor: Manufacture and Technocracy in Qing China
By Kai Jun Chen
University of Washington Press, forthcoming February 2023
Porcelain for the Emperor explores one key to China’s extraordinary production and export of fine porcelain during the early modern period: the role of specialist officials in producing the technological knowledge and distinctive artistic forms that were essential to the cultural policies of the Chinese state in the early Qing dynasty. Through a detailed study of porcelain manufacture loosely structured around the career of the potter who supervised ceramic production for the Qing dynasty court, the book shows how these imperial technocrats engaged in fiscal management, technical experimentation, and design to organize rationalized manufacturing in a precapitalist, preindustrial society.