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A Little Treasure Chest 1

It came from China and was worth its weight in gold. Marco Polo coined the term 'porcellana' - derived from the word 'porcella' for the cowry with its smooth and shiny shell. Today we call it porcelain. Exploring the history of porcelain is an endeavor which takes us back to the beginnings of the art of producing ceramics. About 700 years ago, a European merchant gave an account of the high degree of fineness of this ceramic, which is reminiscent of glass, but much more durable. In 1271, Marco Polo made a trading voyage to Peking with his father and his uncle. On his return in 1292, among other goods, he brought back porcelain, and with it a bacillus that started the porcelain fever.

This fever broke out all over Europe. Italien fayence and glass makers, German, French and English potters desperately sought out the material to produce such splendid treasures. It was the stuff the sovereigns and kings desired.


The porcelain pots shown here are all from China.


Size: Diameter 28 cm, height 18 cm. Age: 80 - 100 years

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Size: 19,5 cm x 19,5 cm x 15,8. Age: 80 – 100 years

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Size: 22 cm x 15,7 cm x 16,3 cm. Age: 80 – 100 years

The painting on this pot was applied in a dynamic and sponaneous manner, almost modernist. The inside of the pot shows reinforcements struts that were used to avoid warping during the firing process. Today this technique is hardly used any more.

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All pots shown there are all from the collection of Paul Lesniewicz.


Text and photographs: Peter Krebs

Translation: Heike van Gunst