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.
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.
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!
Here is a close-up of my 2 different designs:
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.
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!
Our group discussed and decided that we want to expand on the Chinese Ceramics for our final project!
We felt that the Chinese Ceramics in the past and now is really different in terms of functionality. They used to have ceramics as decorations at home on shelves, for offerings, and for storing items, and they are usually being owned by royalties in the past.
Now, anyone can purchase ceramics, and we use it mostly to place food and as a tool for us to eat.
We’d want to combine the two, tackling on the issue of using plates as decorative, and if it is only a utilitarian function, how can the print on the ceramics help push any idea we want to raise awareness about.
We are still in the midst of discussing how we should execute the prototype but here are some that we are considering:
Purchase a plain ceramic plate, paint it
Make a ceramic plate from scratch
Use paper plates, and then acrylic paint or white lacquer to try and paint it to look like ceramics
Use wood to shape it like a plate, then use white lacquer to paint and make it look like ceramics
Create an imaginary interview of the three Buddhist Japanese royal patrons: Shotuku, Shomu, and Fujiwara no Yoromichi
When we first saw the topic, Iskandar and I immediately said “Let’s do a talk show together!” and the rest were quick to agree as well! I was so glad that the decision was so unanimous. We then went back to research on the three patrons and inserted into a shared document on Google Docs.
After which, We transferred the words to a shared Google Powerpoint and started editing and adding visuals into it.
After that, we did a script that can aid us in the flow of presentation.
Now that all contents were in, we have to be in character to make sure that this talk show is convincing!
I managed to dig deep enough in my closet for 3 japanese-looking kimono for the team to wear! (it is supposedly 3 pajamas!). And Iskandar has his own Japanese looking outfits, so there we go!
At the initial stage of this module, we already received the timeline of what we will learn, and also, the topic for our presentation. We were not very sure of what to do because we saw other groups visiting museum, and the fact that our team is doing a topic on Japan, we were left confused…not knowing if we were supposed to visit a Japan related museum here in Singapore or not (is there one?) Later, we managed to find out that we are only required to do research and a mock interview or a role play. So as I’ve mentioned above, our group was really cooperative and this project is really a smooth sailing one!
Through this project, I really found out a lot more about Japan. I have always thought that Buddhism was from China, and Japan solely has got Shintoism as a religion and the other minorities are just small influences. I am awed and can’t wait to visit Japan one day to see those sculptures and temples in real!
Well, I wouldn’t say how do I learn best, but rather, how to keep myself focus, or how to absorb information!
I am usually really busy with commitments apart from school, and thus, my working hours on assignments are usually past midnight (like now). And I would think that it is really productive because no one will disturb or distract me, and late at night, the only thing left for me to do would be my assignment! I can’t go out and eat, I can’t chat with my friends because they will mostly be asleep, and most importantly, I’d have a sense of urgency to complete my work so that I can finally go to bed!
I recently took a Character Strength test and it’s quite accurate! I can apply point 2 for my top 3 traits to studies; as I am always curious, I’d seek solutions to my own queries and make sure I understand before moving on.
Therefore, Curiosity in me is the main catalyst as to how I learn most, and the best learning conditions would be for me to find out about things, and work on it in the wee hours!