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Carré Rive Gauche
Myrna Myers
Ceramics, Far East Arts

11 rue de Beaune
75007 Paris
France
T. +33(0)1 42 61 11 08
F. +33 (0)1 30 82 49 17

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Several Leagues Under The Sea

Thirty-one years ago Captain Michael Hatcher discovered a Chinese junk which had been sunk in the South China Sea around 1650 from which he was able to recover 23000 pieces of Chinese porcelain.  While the bulk of the find consisted of kraak porcelain destined as dinnerware in Europe, our exhibition is composed of what is known as Transitional Ware made for Chinese taste in the first half of the 17th century.

China at that time was going through one of the most troubled periods of its history.  The disintegration of the Ming dynasty resulted in a loosening of official control of the production of porcelain.  Potters were free from the constraints of the court to innovate designs and forms to satisfy the wishes of its bourgeois and intellectual clients who represented a new market.

The variety of forms and decors is stressed in this exhibition.  One notes the purity of the silhouette and the search for harmony in the proportions.  We discover for the first time in the West, the disced kendi and rare snow scenes.  The symbolism of the prior dynasty is replaced by resolutely narrative, figurative images.  One notes the rapidity and vitality of the brush work and the gradations of the blue which result in poetic tours de force.  These pieces show a purely Chinese sensibility despite their destination.

This cargo is particularly interesting because it can be dated to around 1645, based on small dish decorated with a dragon-lizard which is identical to a dated piece in the Percival David Foundation in London.

Beijing fell in 1644 when it was conquered by the Qing, resulting in a brutal interruption of maritime commerce.  We can imagine that this junk left at a dramatic moment around 1645.  It might have been the victim of the upheavals of that time, without realizing that it was destined to travel for 300 years before delivering its fascinating cargo.

PAST EXHIBITIONS

From Savage to Serene: Woolen rugs of Tibet
jeudi 31 mai 2012 - samedi 30 juin 2012

This year's theme for the Carré Rive Gauche inspired an exhibition at the gallery of Myrna Myers entitled "From Savage to Serene: Woolen Rugs of Tibet." Our selection comes from the collection of Sandra Whitman, a specialist based in San Francisco. It illustrates four design categories which distinguish these unusual rugs from this ancient Himalayan kingdom where Tantric Buddhism is practiced. One finds rugs which imitate tiger skins, geometric and checkerboard designs, empty fields and those with floral décor influenced by Chinese silk brocades.