Art & Design

Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their Trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500-1644 – Teresa Canepa

16 January 2017, London

Focusing on the prolific trade, overseas transport and consumption of Chinese silk and porcelain, and Japanese lacquer between 1500 and 1644, this lecture will show how the material culture of late Ming China and Momoyama/Early Edo Japan on one side of the globe, and Western Europe and the New World on the other, became linked for the first time through an exchange of luxury Asian manufactured goods for silver.


Drawing on Teresa Canepa’s multi-disciplinary research for her PhD dissertation and book, the lecture will explore the fascinating and complex commercial, cultural and artistic exchanges that occurred between the East and West in the early modern period. It will focus on the trade and consumption of three very different Asian goods: silk, porcelain and lacquer, first by the Iberian kingdoms of Portugal and Spain in the sixteenth century, and then also by the trading companies formed by the Northern Netherlands/Dutch Republic and England in the early seventeenth century. In particular, Dr Canepa will show the influence that European merchants and missionaries exerted on the goods made to order for them in both China and Japan.


Teresa Canepa is an independent researcher and lecturer in Chinese and Japanese export art. She completed a PhD in Art History at Leiden University, The Netherlands. The main focus of her research is the Portuguese and Spanish trade in Chinese porcelain and Japanese lacquer in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, on which she has published a number of articles and lectured widely.


Dr Canepa’s new book, Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their Trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500-1644, will be available for sale on the night for the discounted price of £60 (retail price £75).

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email or submit the online booking form.

16 January 2017, 6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St) London WC1A 2TH

The Japan Society