Mongol Empire and Its Impact on Chinese Porcelains
This essay challenges the view that the Mongols had scant influence on Yuan dynasty arts. Although the Mongols were not the craftsmen who produced the artistic works, they were one of the major consumers of such objects. In addition, their support for trade translated into recognition that West and Southeast Asia and Korea provided a substantial market for Chinese porcelains. They appointed a high-level Commissioner to supervise porcelain production at Jingdezhen and other centers. Then, they assisted Chinese potters and transported porcelains to other regions in Asia. The Mongols also brought information about the specific artistic and culinary tastes of the markets for Chinese porcelains. Thus, Chinese potters produced massive plates, jars, and dishes for West Asians who characteristically placed their food on large plates. They also recognized that West Asians preferred decorations on their porcelains and produced works that had decorative motifs. In short, this essay seeks to alter the convention wisdom that the Mongols merely had a passive role in the efflorescence of Yuan porcelains.