Archive for May, 2019

Chinese ceramics at the Frick, Pittsburgh

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Last year while working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I sublet a house in Point Breeze, just around the corner from The Frick Pittsburgh. I immediately bought a membership and whenever possible I attended exhibits, walked the grounds, and ate in the cafe.

Last August, to coincide with the opening of Crazy Rich Asians, I posted about the ceramics I used as set dressing in the movie. I received a comment from Sarah Hall, Chief Curator, Director of Collections at the Frick, who mentioned that the collection included a pair of large peach vases, similar to ones I used in the film. Soon after, I met with Sarah and Dawn Brean, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, to discuss an upcoming exhibit Dawn was planning and asked if I would like to write a piece about ceramics used in Crazy Rich Asians.

Flash forward 6 months and I am pleased to report that the exhibit recently opened and will be on display as a part of their permanent collection through early 2020. If you are in the area, please stop by and check out the wonderful exhibit, as well as the rest of the museum and beautiful grounds, and Clayton, the former home of Henry Clay Frick, industrialist and art collector.

Chinese mug with double handle, c.1770

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

This Chinese porcelain cylindrical mug with chips, cracks, and a missing handle survived many a battle over the past 250 years, as is evident by its multiple scars. It was made during the Qianlong Period (1736-96) and measures 5 inches high, 9 inches wide from handle to handle. The delicate decoration, including three oval cartouches with flowers and figures in a port scene, is hand painted in the Rose Mandarin palette using pink, blue, green, orange, and brown enamels.

It seems many years ago a tinker took pity upon the poor broken mug and brought it back to life by fashioning not one but two metal replacement handles. Supported by horizontal and vertical support bands, the handles have the remains of the rattan supports and woven rattan coverings. This just proves that although you may be old, wounded, and weary, you may still be able to live a long life with dignity.

This mug, of similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Bukowskis