Chinese lacquer decorations for Catholic European consumers in the 16th and 17th centuries: Stylistic and technical evolutions

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The Catholic E uropean pr esence in 16th- and
17th-century Asia promoted, through trade and
missionary ac tivities , the adapta tion of indig -
enous cr afts to foreign tast es and needs . One
result was lacquered Luso-Asian items. Though
variously classified in the past, their inconsistent
characteristics cal led for deeper e xamination.
This paper pr esents some of the findings of
an in- depth, multidisciplinar y doc toral study
on 19 such specimens that revised our under-
standing of these ar tifac ts and the period of
their creation. Based on the results, the lacquer
decorations could be stylistically and technically
assigned t o Chinese cr aftsmen in the ser vice
of Catholic Europeans. Interregional influences
that took place within the framework of the Je-
suit missions in Japan andChinawere illustrated
particularly w ell b y the nanban-like pa tterns
on the religious artifacts, which instead were
executed with tr aditional Chinese t echniques
that included the depic tion of Chinese auspi -
cious motifs. The more accurate classification of
the examined artifacts achieved by our research
demonstrates the fundamen tal impor tance of
rigorous technolog ically based in vestigations
of historical objects.
Period17 May 2021
Event titleICOM-CC 19th Triennal Conference : Transcending Boundaries: Integrated Approaches to Conservation
Event typeConference
LocationBeijing, ChinaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational