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3460 - THE SPANISH TRADE IN KRAAK PORCELAIN TO THE NEW WORLD AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LOCAL CERAMIC INDUSTRY

At the end of the Ming dynasty, a new style of blue and white porcelain was made in vast quantities at private kilns in Jingdezhen, the largest and most important kiln complex in China, situated in Jiangxi province. This distinctive porcelain, commonly known in the west as kraak , became the largest and most varied group of Jingdezhen export porcelain manufactured throughout the reigns of Wanli (1573-1620), Tianqi (1621-1627) and Chongzhen (1628-1644). It is the first Jingdezhen blue and white export porcelain that was mass-produced and shipped in large quantities around the world. The sea routes not only of the Portuguese - the first Europeans to engage in maritime commerce in the Orient - but also of the Spanish and later the Dutch, played an important role in the trade of kraak porcelain.

This paper will give an overview of the Spanish trade in kraak porcelain. After the discovery of the New World in 1492, the Spanish followed the Portuguese in the overseas expansion to Asia. The founding of Manila in the Philippines in 1571, only four years after a Ming maritime trade ban had been lifted, gave the Spanish Crown a foothold in the profitable Asian commercial network. Manila quickly became Spain's eastern depot for the shipment of porcelain both home and to the New World via the trans-Pacific trade route. The porcelain destined for the Spanish vice-royalties was shipped in the so-called Manila Galleon that set sail from Manila to Acapulco. Most of the porcelain was taken to Mexico City where a small quantity was carried by mules to Veracruz and then loaded onto galleons that sailed to Seville.

Archaeological evidence yielded from Spanish settlements in Asia and the New World, kraak porcelain finds from datable shipwrecks as well as shards found on the coast of California, will be discussed along with an apparently unique kraak armorial piece that was specially commissioned for the Spanish market. This paper will also discuss the profound and lasting impact that kraak porcelain imported to the New World had on the local ceramic industry, which responded rapidly to the new demand for tin-glazed earthenware (majolica) imitations of kraak porcelain once its production in China, came to a halt.

Palavras-chaves: Kraak, Spanish, New World, majolica, porcelain

Autores: Canepa, Teresa (Independent researcher, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)

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