Chinese Porcelain Visual Response Reflection

In reproducing Chinese porcelain designs on paper plates, we seek to address its changing nature, from decorative items to utilitarian wares.


The plate we referred to was the Chrysanthemum dish made in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), found in the Asian Civilizations Museum.

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Chrysanthemum dish

China, Jingdezhen kilns, Qing dynasty

Porcelain with depictions of plants and butterflies


After research and group discussions, we settled on the uses of Chinese porcelain designs and comparism of the past and future uses. In the past, such plates were deem precious and placed for decorative admiration yet such designs can be found on plates used for eating now. To emphasise on the shifting nature of the designs now, we use paper plates, a disposable item easily thrown away after use. People are more blasé about such designs and with printed technology, it is easy to throw away what might be deemed precious centuries ago.




To emulate the casual setting we were going for, we decided to set up a picnic table where such plates are more commonly used. Bottles, chips, and flowers are provided to create a friendly atmosphere where friends can easily gather to chat.


Through this project, I realize art is never just a reflection of its own period but also an instigator of critical questions to an artist, art students, art historian, anybody. Yes, it does represent the period from when it came from but such art inspires the next generation of art and that is how we fit in. Looking at a plate created centuries ago prompted us to think about the ever-changing nature of goods and compare them. It can go many ways then, we can ask ‘why has it changed?’ or ‘when did it change?’, the questions are endless. In creating a visual response, we are creating a conversation with the piece which I found intriguing and frankly, rather amazing.

Introductory Paragraph- Chinese Tomb Art

There has been a change in my thesis statement but I think I’ll put down the paragraph first and see if it’s easy to pick out.



The Ancient China concept of death indicated that the body had two spiritual elements, the hun spirit representing the expressive soul headed for paradise and the po spirit that remained after death[1]. To appease the po spirit, the dead were buried with art such as sculptures or bronzes and everyday objects, essentially “recreating life in all its essentials.“[2] The higher rank the deceased had, the more goods were placed in their tombs, one of the most famous being China’s First Emperor Qin Shihuang tomb and his terracotta warriors. Founded in 1974 by farmers , the terracotta army remained one of China’s links to its extensive history, one being the study of military hierarchy in the ranks; Despite the facial individualities of the soldiers[3] the overarching shape of the terracotta figures, as shown by its posture, weapons, and dressing, encapsulates the rank of the figure.

[1] Wood, China’s First Emperor and His Terra Cotta Warriors, 127.

[2] Man, The Terracotta Army: China’s First Emperor and The Birth of a Nation, 100.

[3] Fu, The Underground Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, 12.



Wood, Frances. China’s First Emperor and His Terra Cotta Warriors. New York: St.Martin’s Press, 2008.

Man, John. The Terracotta Army: China’s First Emperor and The Birth of a Nation. Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2007.

Fu, Tianchou. The Underground Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. China: New World Press, 1996