The Suitcase Lady


May 2, 2017, 9:27 pm

If I had unlimited wealth, flying around to see special exhibits at art museums would be high on my agenda. Right now, I would choose to be on a plane to the Netherlands to visit the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft. Their current exhibit is entitled “Forbidden Porcelain, Exclusively for the Emperor”. It’s a show of smashed up pottery which has been meticulously glued back together.

The cracked up ceramic pieces on display were deliberately destroyed  hundreds of years ago. Made for the Ming rulers from 1366 to 1644, the porcelain objects were judged to be too imperfect for the eyes  of the emperors and their courts.

The pottery was made in Jingdezhen, China, 838 miles from Beijing where the emperors held court. This area had an abundance of kaolin, the clay from which porcelain is produced. Surrounding forests provided wood to fire the kilns. Newly fired pieces taken out of the kilns received scrupulous inspections and the rejects were immediately broken and buried in the lowlands near a river. Frequent flooding covered the shards with layers of silt and soil.

Fast forward to the 1980’s when the ancient kilns at Jingdezhen were discovered when some buildings were being razed. The “seconds” were an archeological treasure trove. The mind numbing task of sorting and reassembling the royal rejects began.

The eyes of royalty have finally viewed the pieces. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands opened the show and adorned a vase with, what else, tulips.

Delft is the perfect venue for this art show. The city’s famous blue and white Delftware pottery was inspired by the blue and white porcelain made in China and brought to the Netherlands in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company. Globalization is nothing new.

3 Comments for this entry

  • Alyce Weiss

    How beautiful. Would love to see this exhibit.

  • eve robillard


  • Marilyn Verick

    Kudos to the Chinese for resurrecting and preserving the past. The MSM seems to only print the negatives of China. Certainly doesn’t accent the positive . They are working hard to preserve pandas a cut pollution too.