top of page
Four Centuries of Blue and White

Four Centuries of Blue and White


The Frelinghuysen Collection of Chinese & Japanese Export Porcelain


This beautifully illustrated and scholarly book presents the Frelinghuysen collection of Chinese and Japanese export porcelain. It is the first major publication to consider Chinese and Japanese blue and white together.

This extraordinary collection, assembled carefully over fifty years, features an exceptionally wide array of Asian blue and white porcelain – that most ubiquitous and influential of all ceramics. Ranging from Chinese pieces specially made for Portuguese traders in the 16th century to late 19th century commissions for the Thai royal court, the collection also includes numerous Chinese classics from the era of the European trading companies and a notable selection of Japanese export porcelain. In its vast scope it speaks of the diverse impulses and historical forces that propelled the trade in Asian porcelain and provides a lens through which to view the interaction of East and West from the early modern age to the dawn of the 20th century.

More than 300 pieces from the collection are illustrated and discussed in full and another 250 are illustrated in a compendium, all divided into thematic chapters that reflect the many ways Chinese and Japanese porcelain has been traded, collected and lived with around the world. Essays by William R. Sargent, former Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, and noted armorial porcelain authority Angela Howard, precede the thirteen chapters, which include Faith, Identity, For the Table, To European Design and Made in Japan. Great rarities are featured alongside small, amusing pieces and the many export porcelains made to elevate the practices of daily life.

With its strict adherence to blue and white porcelain, the collection intensifies our focus on forms, patterns and designs, gathering together wares that are often considered only separately for study while also covering areas of little recent scholarship, such as the Thai market material. The specialized reader will find references to the latest research while the more general reader will appreciate a comprehensive overview of Asian export porcelain. There has not been a significant survey of either Chinese or Japanese blue and white since the 1990s, and they have never been considered together in a major publication.

  • By Becky MacGuire

    October 2023

    Published by Ad Illisvm

    Hardback, 280 x 245 mm 

    432 pages, approx. 500 colour illus. 

    ISBN: 978-1-915401-09-0

  • About the author

    Becky MacGuire is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the Study Centre for the Fine & Decorative Arts at the Victoria & Albert Museum. She was the longtime Asian export art specialist at international auction house Christie’s.

  • In the press

    "The book will be an important reference for collectors and those interested in Asian blue-and-white ceramics."—Asian Art Newspaper


    "provides a wealth of new scholarship" —Country Life

bottom of page