Vessels of Influence: China and the Birth of Porcelain in Medieval and Early Modern Japan: China and Porcelain in Medieval and Early Modern Japan

Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere
Published by: Duckworth Debates in Archaeology, 2012

Vessels of Influence, while examining in depth the role of Chinese ceramics in Japan, also delves into the meaning, motivation for, and rapid development of Japanese porcelain from many angles, including archaeology, heirloom and documentary evidence. The political and fiscal advantage that one lord found for his domain in creating its own local ‘china’ is placed in the context of the domestic and international market economy.

Through an examination of the role of Chinese products and that of a domesticated ‘china’ in Japan, a fuller picture of Japan’s rich material culture emerges, revealing complex interactions between government, taste-makers, traders, merchants, consumers, imports and new technology. Vessels of Influence also discusses how these interactions have been viewed by historians, and the often heated debates that have occurred as a result.

Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere is the Founding and Research Director of the Sainsbury Institute.