Conference: “Porcelain Circling the Globe” | Germany

The Porzellansammlung Dresden, an ASEMUS member, will be hosting the international conference “Porcelain Circling the Globe. International Trading Structures and the East Asia Collection of Augustus the Strong (1670–1733)” in Dresden, Germany, on 13-14 June 2018.

Over these two days, the conference will discuss the porcelain trade conducted by individual dealers working outside of the dominant trading companies in the 17th and 18th centuries. It will focus on private networks in and beyond Asia, as well as the emergence of collecting East Asian art in Europe.

A significant focus of the conference will be on the former royal collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Augustus was an avid collector of East Asian prints, lacquer work and textiles, and accumulated over 25,000 examples of East Asian porcelain, of which around 8,000 objects are extant at the Porzellansammlung Dresden. The provenance of many of these objects is remarkably well-documented as they were recorded in the early 18th century in extensive royal inventories. Considering the number of porcelain dealers specifically mentioned in these unique records, one must ask the question of how important and influential these private networks were for the formation of East Asian porcelain collections – not only in Saxony, but also in other parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The conference will discuss the extent and importance of these private networks, and will debate the phenomenon of trading and collecting East Asian objects from both the traders’ as well as the collectors’ perspectives, with the purpose of investigating interactions between agents from different cultures and backgrounds. The conference is part of the research project “Microstructures of Global Trade. East Asian Porcelain in the Collection of Augustus the Strong in the Context of the Museum Inventories of the 18th Century”, sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Confirmed speakers as of July 2017 include Jan van Campen (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), Stéphane Castelluccio (Centre André Chastel, Paris), Menno Fitski (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), Tomoko Fujiwara (Kyushu Ceramic Museum), Anne Gerritsen (Universiteit Leiden), Stacey Pierson (SOAS University of London), Miki Sakuraba (National Museum of Japanese History, Chiba) and Sun Yue (Palace Museum Beijing).

A preliminary conference presentation is available here. To join the mailing list for further details and updates, please write to ruth.simonis (at)

Be informed of the Latest Projects, News and Events