Timelessness of Blue and White Porcelain




I am so glad I had the opportunity to see the Met's "CHINA: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit before it closed, a joint collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department within the museum.  I hadn't heard much about this show, but am so glad I stopped in before the show was about to end its months long run because I thought it was truly awe inspiring!   The purpose of the show, stylistically speaking, was to show how modern Eastern fashion juxtaposed with Western traditional costumes and decorative art is turned on its head with an Alice in Wonderland feeling.  The show's intent was to recognize the cultural history of the past and present a new appreciation for Orientalism in the present.  The visual conversation between the West and the East creates a dynamic cross cultural, inspirational journey with stunning results.




It is hard to interpret exactly what you are seeing in these pictures.  There were many vignettes of a contemporary dress designed by a well known designer juxtaposed with a large convex mirror in the center (similar to the one Alice crawls through in her home that transports her to an alternate universe.)  Hanging beside that is an exquisitely beautiful, traditional, antique, embroidered silk robe.




Couture designers such as McQueen, Rodarte, Galliano for Dior, and Roberto Cavalli created fashions inspired by the timeless, signature porcelain from the Yuan Dynasty.  I was wowed by the fashion, but I walked away with a renewed love of blue and white porcelain.















A woman's warrior dress made of blue and white pottery taken from the Qing archeological dig called "The Weight of the Millennium" by Li Xiaofeng was a showstopper among many.  The back and forth conversation between periods, places, artists, and media speak of the inspiration each has in a globalized world where cultures collide.




Art imitates life.  Included in the exhibit was James Whistler's Purple and Rose, The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks, 1864, on loan from The Philadelphia Museum of Art  ~

Lange Leizen, which is the Dutch term for "Long Ladies," is the name applied to blue-and-white Chinese porcelain decorated with images of slender women. Whistler's interest in East Asian art can be seen here in the accessories surrounding the model, many of which are based on his own art collection.



The story of blue and white chinoiserie porcelain encapsulates centuries of cultural exchange between the East and West.  It was created in the Jingdezhen region during the Yaun Dynasty (1271-1368) and was exported to Europe and beyond.  As its popularity increased, potters, inspired by the look, put their own regional spins on the porcelain: think Delft, Meissen, Minton

From the 15th century through today, in any form, it always works.  It always feels fresh.  It's timeless, it can be had at any price point, and best of all ~ it's perennially chic!

Mary McDonald


Mark D Sikes


The Rinfret Group


Tobi Fairley

Donald Romualdez



In fashion as well as design, you must understand the past as you move through the present and into the future!









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