cover image Inperial Taste Chinese Cer

Inperial Taste Chinese Cer

Chronicle Books, Rosemary E. Scott, Percival David Foundation Of Chinese Art. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (135pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-612-0

Smitten by the riches of the Imperial Collection, connoisseur Sir Percival David (1892-1964) braved the ``insuperable obstacles'' posed by rival Chinese collectors--and the chicaneries of the Chinese bank which then owned the priceless porcelains in the collection--to purchase, in 1926, the trove, which is now quartered at the University of London. The 56 pieces date from the 9th to the 18th centuries. Formerly owned by Chinese emperors, they document fluctuating imperial taste and bear witness to an enduring high standard, from Jun ware from the 12th and 13th centuries--smudged generously with mottled plum and purple glazes--to the delicate naturalism of 18th-century Jingdezhen tea sets, painted with lotus blossoms. Rounding out the many color photographs and catalogue essay by curator Scott are other pieces by Scott and scholars George Kuwayama, Roderick Whitfield, Wu Tung and Denise Patry Leidy discussing archeological research, the origins of ceramic painting styles, the role played by such porcelains in Chinese painting itself and the influence of East-West trade on the art. This is a companion volume to an exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Sept.)