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Jean Mudge Productions: Films, Videos & Books About Historic America



Chinese Export Porcelain, 1785-1835CHINESE EXPORT PORCELAIN FOR THE AMERICAN TRADE, 1785-1835, shows how this highly coveted porcelain symbolizes the historical relationship between China and the United States in the crucial decades following our Revolution. The American adventure in China gave rise to a trade that made the young republic’s first millionaires. More than 130 illustrations show the many ways that U.S. buyers in effect imposed a real cultural imperialism on China by ordering wares exclusively painted with American decorations. In return, the Chinese only exported those porcelains deemed inadequate for the emperor and his court. Both parties were happy with this lucrative arrangement.
— Second edition, revised. East Brunswick, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1981
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”The most comprehensive history yet written of the importation of Chinese export porcelain into this country. Jean McClure Mudge does two things to make her book on export porcelain the definitive one by tracing the methods of its production as well as the history of its importation into this country. By combining both aesthetic and historic elements, she does more than show that ‘porcelain made in China for Americans during the half century after the American Revolution is tangible evidence of a great period of trade for this country.’ Through these objects, she ‘illustrates the meeting of two countries of almost polar contrast: America, the infant, expanding, and enterprising nation: and China, one of the most ancient, isolated, and conservative countries in the world.’”
— Robert G. Breen, The Baltimore Sun

“Mrs. Mudge has illustrated her text, the result of exhaustive research among new manuscript resources, with more than 140 photographs of rare and beautiful old Chinese porcelain pieces from family and other collections. A platter and tureen belonging to George Washington is pictured in the frontispiece. The process by which Chinese artisans created porcelain for the later 18th and early 19th century American trade is described and illustrated by a rare series of Chinese engravings. Step by step, one follows the process from the gathering of raw materials to the packing and loading of the finished pieces onto ships for delivery to Eastern ports. Mrs. Mudge linkes the exquisite objects themselves to the history of the era and the cultural climate of America in those days. ‘The first Americans who came to Canton in 1784 had no knowledge of China’s long cultural heritage, and they were puzzled by the haughtiness and aloofness of the Chinese officials and by the vast amounts of red tape with which they surrounded the trading activities.’ Later, the Americans ‘found many of the individual Canton merchants to be cordial, cooperative and honest; and in time, warm friendships developed among them as well as among the other foreign traders.’”
— Irene Alexander, The Monterey Herald

[2nd edition, revised] The reasons for this book’s uniqueness when it first appeared in 1962 still stand. It is the only work that goes to fresh, primary shipping sources to tell the story of the trade in export Chinese porcelain with America. The time of early porcelain trade was one of adventure and high profit that in the present normalization of relations with China may now be repeated.
— Publishers Profile

George Washington tureen and platter