How can art inspire technical innovation?
When one group of people wants something that another has, they have several options for obtaining it. They can, for instance, buy it or trade for it. They can also attempt to create their own version of the item in demand. Various people around the world have at one time or another become enamored of Chinese blue and white porcelain. In places like Europe and the Middle East, these ceramics were not only imported, but also mimicked. The Netherlands had Delftware, England had Worcester ware, and Turkey had Iznik ware. In each instance, the manufacturers sought to imitate the prized qualities of Chinese ceramics, while at the same time catering to their home market with local forms and iconography.
Questions to Consider
- Imagine that you did not know which of the plates seen here was created in China and which in Turkey. What factors would you consider in determining each object’s origin?
- The exchange of goods as well as artistic ideas and aesthetic values went both ways between East Asia and the Islamic world in the pre-modern period. How do these two plates reflect that reciprocity?
- What circumstances might have prompted people in Iznik and other parts of the world to attempt their own versions of Chinese blue and white ware? Can you think of any parallel examples in the world today?
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