Art History // Final Presentation

Group members: Andrew, Chen Yue, Fern, Ziyu
To follow up with my previous post on the ceramics plate, my team and I have decided on the following claim:

The function of Chinese ceramic plates has changed from decorative items to common utilitarian wares over the years.

And below, I will be covering a brief proposal on our concept, some images of the Prototypes that we have done, Artist Statement, Bibliography, as well as my Reflections on this project and the overall Art History in Sem II.

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From my previous post (Click here!), you can see that the functionality of plates have changed over the years – from being a decorative item to a normal day to day utilitarian, and from being owned by the wealthy to an ordinary material that can be afforded by all in sundry.

Thus, our team has decided that we would use paper plates for our product, and we will inject decorative elements on the plate to combine the idea of decoration, functionality and affordability. Also, we have been considering about its purpose: why paper plates? And we’ve concluded that it could be commercialized for thematic events or party use, or even just a normal service plate at home!

Ideally, the actual plates should have prints and the finances should be calculated in such a way that its profit margin is high – since the production cost of a paper plate or printed paper plate is quite low, and after imprinting oriental and elegant designs, its perceived value could easily be viewed much higher as compared to a plain white paper plate.

Printed plates commonly used during parties

Therefore, we have decided to paint on a plain paper plate for the prototype to bring across the idea and concept. We decided to paint 2 designs each, thus producing 8 different prototypes!


8 plates painted by Andrew, Chen Yue, Fern, Ziyu

Here is a close-up of my 2 different designs:



Artist Statement

This project consists of a series of paper plates with traditional Chinese designs painted on them to highlight the shifting function of Chinese ceramic plates from decorative to common wares over the years. The series of paper plates are also a visual response to our primary object, a Chrysanthemum porcelain plate produced in the famous Jingdezhen kilns during the Qing dynasty. Chinese ceramics such as plates have had a long history of being used by emperors for decorative purposes to express status and wealth and plates from the Jingdezhen kilns were especially sought after during the Qing dynasty. However, nowadays plates come in a variety of materials and have taken a more utilitarian function, one of the most common example being its usage to hold food items. This is especially evident in the example of paper plates, which are designed to be used once and lack any significance. Paper plates are often used at informal parties to hold snacks and disposed off when no longer needed. To further emphasize this difference in how plates are used, the paper plates are presented with actual food items and surrounded by items seen at picnics such as disposable cups and picnic mats. This set-up immediately confronts viewers and challenges their perception of Chinese ceramics with the juxtaposition of imperial ceramic motifs on disposable plates.


Leidy, Denise Patry. How to Read Chinese Ceramics. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015.

Medley, Margaret. The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics. New York: Scribner, 2001.

Rawson, Jessica. The British Museum Book of Chinese Art. United Kingdom: British Museum Press, 2007.

Wu, Juan. “Chinese Jingdezhen Blue and White Imperial Porcelain.” Sci China Ser E Science in China Series E 47, no. 3 (2004): 366.

“Porcelain Obsession: Denise Patry Leidy on Her New Book …” Met Museum. September 11, 2015. Accessed April 6, 2016.


I really felt like I’ve pushed and learnt a lot through this project. Initially, we were all aimless even after reading the project brief. We often lose track during our project meetings and we just couldn’t figure what thesis or claim we should go ahead with. From the moment we’ve confirmed it, everything else was rather smooth sailing. I am really glad that my group and I worked well together; it seems like we are all different but were able to complement each other in a positive way! All of us were able to compromise and agree with each other, adapting constructive comments and ideas into one.

Personally, it is a great achievement especially for this final project because I don’t really know how to paint well, but because of what we have agreed on, I did what I could and was able to produce the 2 plates that I did! 🙂


Overall, my biggest take aways from this module is visual analysis. I’ve been hearing this since week 1, and I became really sensitive to details of a painting, sculpture, or anything I see basically! I really helps a lot and my friends and I would also comment on things we see even when we go for meals or come across certain art work online! I like how we can apply whatever we learn in class out of it because then I know that it is important information that we have learnt, and not just something we go through just so we can “cover the syllabus”. I love learning and exploring and I can’t wait to discover what in for us in the next semester’s Southeast Asian Art!

One thought on “Art History // Final Presentation”

  1. Excellent post!

    I think I finally understand the project: high end Chinese ceramics made affordable through paper plates.

    Some points to think about:
    *Chinese ceramics were functional items in the past as well. But, perhaps what you are commenting on is that the luxurious quality of the piece that you saw at the ACM? Some of these enamelled pieces were for royalty.
    *When might we use these ceramics? CNY? Moon festival? Or, would there be paper plates for the major festivals in Singapore for the four different communities?
    *What is the significance of using your paper plates as opposed to buying cheap ceramics from Ikea or Daiso?
    *I appreciate the interesting idea of depicting actual food items and disposable objects–but why? Is your team trying to make us think twice about disposable items? Why the food? Are we to choose certain plates for certain occasions based on the food designs?

    The plates look lovely and I look forward to seeing them in person!

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