Soba Cup, One of Pair
On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
Even before the nineteenth century, merchants fostered European and later American fascination with the art, culture, and peoples of Asia. These merchants manipulated Asian resources, materials, and labor to produce and promote luxury goods for European consumers. Although China and Japan were never in the true sense part of European empires, they were economically tied to these powerful European kingdoms, supplying porcelains, silks, wallpaper, lacquerwares, and tea to the wealthy throughout Europe.
The Japanese and Chinese porcelains shown here were made not for domestic but for European markets; they exhibit the fashion for Asian-produced goods with motifs and colors that were seen as quintessentially Asian. It was not until 1709 that European manufacturers discovered how to fabricate true hard, translucent porcelain. Therefore, works created in this expensive and exclusive material were both desirable and fashionable among the elite. Their production in distant Asia added allure but also ignorance about who made them and how they were created. The markets for goods like these, which benefited from the exploitation of cheap labor in remote or unfamiliar locations, continued through the nineteenth century and still endures today.
Here, the European-style floral vases decorating these Qajar period tiles from Iran indicate that designers as well as their clients sought ornament derived from European sources. The Japanese porcelains display the fashion for European-style objects: coffee was popular in European households, and the coffee urn shown here would have been a conversation starter as well as an object of great fascination. The barber’s bowls may have been functional—they were designed to hang around a man’s neck to hold water and soap while shaving—but, more likely, these examples would have been decoratively hung on a wall as an indication of wealth and sophistication. Part of a very large dinner service produced for the Portuguese Saldanha family, the enameled food cover and platter were fabricated in China applying European forms, techniques, and decoration.
Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze design of Dutch merchants and signal flags.
early 19th century
Gift of Robert S. Anderson
Soba Cup, One of Pair, early 19th century. Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze design of Dutch merchants and signal flags., 3 1/8 x 3 1/16 in. (7.9 x 7.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Robert S. Anderson, 1994.188.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 1994.188.2_1994.188.3_view1_PS4.jpg)
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.