China and Prussia
Porcelain and Tea

08.06.2012 to 31.12.2012
Museum für Asiatische Kunst

The treasures of the Far East - porcelain and tea - have fascinated Europeans since the early modern period. 'East-Indian' trading companies shipped these much sought-after and often precious goods to the West.

The 'Royal Prussian Asiatic Company in Emden to Canton and China' was founded by Frederick II and from 1750 to 1757 it sent four trade ships to East Asia. One of these ships returned to Emden in north Germany bearing exquisite cargo: a dinner service, embellished with the Prussian coat of arms, as a gift for the king. Some 75 pieces from that service are now on show in the Thronsaal in a 'Prussian room' specially installed for the exhibition in the Museum of Asian Art's East-Asian wing. Continuing the theme of tea, a counterpoint to the historical display is provided by a contemporary artwork: Ai Weiwei's 2009 'Tea House'. The installation spreads out around the ensemble of imperial thrones on view in the room: a masterpiece of Chinese lacquer art, dating from the last quarter of the 17th century.

The exhibition is being held as part of a wider series of events called 'Art - King - Enlightenment', coordinated by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in honour of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Frederick the Great on 24 January 2012.

Lansstraße 8 / Arnimallee 25
14195 Berlin

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Website 'Art - King - Enlightenment'