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Dutch demand for porcelain: The maritime distribution of Chinese ceramics and the Dutch East India Company (VOC), first half of the 17th century

On the 30th of September Christine Ketel successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.

C.L. Ketel
30 September 2021
Leiden Repository

This thesis gives a systematic interpretation of the maritime trade and transportation of Chinese ceramics in a historical perspective from the ninth-century Tang dynasty up to the middle of the 17th century. The focus is on the Dutch demand for porcelain, which types and shapes were ordered and what the Dutch East India Company (VOC) transported. The study is based on three distinct areas of research: maritime trade,Chinese export ceramics, and the history of the VOC. Items salvaged from shipwrecks are testimony of the shapes and quantities shipped by Western traders; these are also illustrated in the Appendices. What the Dutch ordered is based on the VOC commissions and cargo lists kept in the National Archives. A particular type, known in art-historical publications as Kraak-type porcelain, is given a sharper definition and a clearer chronology. Dutch demand for porcelain was decisive in activating the porcelain production in China; archaeological data shows that mass-production was undertaken to meet the demands for Western customers. The VOC was the main company ordering and storing Chinese porcelain, shipping it not only to Europe, but also within Asia and the Middle East during the first half of the 17th century.

Supervisor: prof. dr. A.T. Gerritsen


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