Organized Panel Session
The export ceramics trade within Asia far outstripped the quantity of Asian ceramics shipped to Europe and the Americas and had begun centuries earlier, but it has not been systematically studied. This panel’s four papers examine trade ware produced by and for different regions of East and Southeast Asia, especially in the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries. The first essay’s detailed examination of the blue-and-white porcelain sherds found in Temasek (premodern Singapore) helps us understand this region’s important role as an entrepôt in the thriving trade between China and the rest of Asia in the early modern period. The second paper demonstrates how during periods of shortages of export ware from China, potters in different parts of Southeast Asia, such as Siam, were encouraged to improve their ceramics technology and produced trade ware to compete with Chinese products. The third paper discusses the Zhangzhou ware produced in Fujian in south China and far better appreciated by customers in Indonesia (and other parts of Asia) than in China. Political and economic vicissitudes often determined which area’s ceramics industry prospered, and the fourth paper considers the rise and decline of kiln centers in southern coastal China—focusing on Zhangzhou, and Chaozhou in Guangdong during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. The rich variety of evidence in these papers shows how the economic, cultural, and technological facets of the export ceramics interchange provide important ways to think about the links among many distinctive regions within Asia.