Santo André Center

The dawn of oceanic voyages in the 15th century sparked an unprecedented exchange between East and West, profoundly shaping the trajectory of decorative arts. By the 16th century, Europe had embraced the rich tradition of tile-making and the intricate decorative techniques of the Islamic world. While the vibrant hues of majolica and the allure of Italian and Dutch porcelain momentarily tempered the Eastern influence, the subsequent century witnessed a resurgence. The allure of Chinese porcelain surged, saturating European markets, and laying the foundation for the prominence of chinoiserie.

The 18th century marked the zenith of demand for Chinese porcelain in the West, with production scaling to meet European and later American markets. Notably, Portugal served as a conduit for substantial orders destined for Brazil until the mid-19th century. The heart of this porcelain production lay in the Shanghai region, rumored to host hundreds of kilns, while Canton emerged as a bustling nexus of trade, where porcelain found its final adornment.

Within this evolving landscape, Chinese porcelain assumed a dual identity, either adopting European configurations or retaining traditional Chinese ornamentation. Dragons, phoenixes, and symbols of auspiciousness adorned these pieces, alongside intricate floral compositions featuring peonies, chrysanthemums, and bamboo. Despite the evolution of ornamentation to cater to Western tastes, the quintessential blue and white palette remained a hallmark, particularly exemplified by the ceramics of Canton and Nanjing.

The 18th century witnessed a penchant for polychromatic decorations, notably the Rose and Green Families, where European sensibilities left an indelible mark. Jesuit missionaries left their imprint with the use of vivid colors highlighted with gold. Yet, simplicity often reigned in tableware adornments, with motifs limited to narrow bands or delicate florals.

The term "Custom-made Ware" encapsulated porcelain destined for export to Europe and later the United States, facilitated by various international trading companies. As the 19th century unfolded, the "Blue China" style proliferated, depicting idyllic landscapes replete with temples, streams, and the iconic willow tree, symbolizing grace, and beauty. This aesthetic captivated European imagination, with England pioneering its reproduction in the 18th century.

The enduring popularity of blue and white ceramics underscores the lasting influence of Oriental porcelain. The iconic Willow pattern, originating in England, amazed European thoughts well into the 20th century. The trend of Japonism gained traction in Europe around 1850, finding expression in diverse artistic endeavors, from Claude Monet's evocative paintings to the nuanced portraits of Vincent Van Gogh and António Ramalho.

In the realm of decorative arts, the Art Nouveau movement embraced Japanese motifs, though it wasn't until the advent of Art Deco in the 1920s that this influence began to wane. Nonetheless, traces of Japonism and chinoiserie endured, woven into the fabric of European artistic production.



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