Chinese

Nicholas Wells Antiques also features a wide range of Chinese export works of art and porcelain in our collection. These were objects that were made specifically for the overseas market from regions like South-East Asia and Japan, to as far as Europe (including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain), South Africa, and North America.

Stylistically, works of art for the export market included sculptures and vases that were favoured by the domestic market. However, there were objects specifically crafted for the Western market, of which the finest examples are showcased at Nicholas Wells Antiques. These include cigarette cases, baskets, boxes, jewelry and ornaments.

The Chinese workshops were given blueprints of the popular styles and designs of that time. However, all of the finished works still yield a very particular Chinese aesthetics about them, from the use of lotuses, figures in Chinese attire, mythical creatures, and fantastic landscapes most often associated with Chinese painting.

Porcelain was a novel invention discovered in China during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). When firing clay vessels at extremely high temperatures, the chemistry of the material changes to one that was impermeable to liquid, durable, and easy to decorate and clean.

Chinese export porcelain was popularised during the 16th Century of the Ming Dynasty when Dutch traders brought millions of pieces to the European market. These include vessels of Chinese design as well as items catering to Western tastes. The latter includes European figures, dinner services, and decorative arts, all decorated in enameling such as monochromes, blue and white, famille verte, and famille rose. At Nicholas Wells Antiques, our offering of Chinese export porcelain is the finest of this popular category.

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