Asian ceramics

Highlights of the Museum’s Asian Ceramics collection

25 October 2008 to 22 March 2009

The Starck Pavilion is an especial place to display highlights of the Museum’s Asian Ceramics collection.

From the seventeenth century onward the Dutch East India Company (VOC - Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) shipped large amounts of porcelain from China and Japan to Europe. Such exotic items not only increased the owner’s status; they were also extremely practical. Porcelain breaks less swiftly than earthenware and is easier to clean. When imports skyrocketed in the eighteenth century, prices fell and Asian ceramics became accessible to a wider range of clientele. In many Dutch households porcelain tea sets, plates, vases, and various types of showpieces made up part of the inventory.

In the northern Netherlands in particular a great deal has been preserved. Whereas in other parts of the country the first half of the nineteenth century saw Asian ceramics being replaced by European porcelain, in the North the costly ware never lost its place in the cupboard. So it should come as no surprise that the Groninger Museum houses a marvellous collection of Asian ceramics.