Exhibition

Famille Verte

Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels

26 June 2011 to 17 June 2012

The exhibition Famille Verte is about a very special kind of Chinese porcelain. Simply put, famille verte (c.1680-1725) wares are extraordinarily fine and beautiful objects. The colourful decorations of flowers, butterflies, mythical animals or Chinese figural scenes are rendered in painstaking detail. In the West, this porcelain with its strange and exotic subjects ranked among the best available and was coveted by the wealthy. The more than 120 objects in the exhibition have a big variety in shape an decoration.

  • Lidded pot, Famille Verte, © Groninger Museum

Famille verte, As the 19th-century French name implies, the decorations are predominantly painted in different shades of bright green enamels, combined with blue, yellow, red, black and sometimes some gold. This type of porcelain was made in the period c. 1680–1725, during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722), when production in the porcelain kilns in Jingdezhen was at its height. As a new, modern type of ware, famille verte enjoyed a widespread appeal and was produced for the domestic Chinese market as well as for export to Europe.

Nowadays, famille verte can be found in museums, country houses, palaces and private collections all over Europe and the USA. In the Netherlands, too, it constitutes a substantial part of several museum collections of Chinese ceramics, e.g., the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Municipal Museum in The Hague, the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, the Groninger Museum in Groningen, and the Princessehof Museum in Leeuwarden.
Notwithstanding its high quality, its beauty and its ongoing appeal, famille verte has never been the subject of a monograph or exhibition in the West or in China.