The 'Marco Polo jar' housed in the Treasury of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice (photograph by Lin Meicun).
As the first European to claim that he travelled to China and back, Marco Polo is a celebrated traveller who described the multicultural society of Eurasia in the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries ad . However, his famed account, the Travels of Marco Polo , contains many unsolved mysteries which have generated discussion among historians, while an...
Context in source publication
... has a hard, white, thin body that is coated with Qingbai (青白 literally: bluish white) cream glaze. There are four zones of dec- oration presented in relief on the surface of the jar, consisting of two bands of floral scrolls in the middle and two bands of petal-like motifs near the top and bottom of the jar (Figure 1). Originally it was suggested that this Qingbai porcelain jar had been brought back by Enrico Dandolo (Doge of Venice) from St Sophia after the fall of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade of AD 1204 (Raphael, 1932: 14), but initially Oscar Raphael had argued that this dating was too early, following an examination of the shape of Yuan Chinese ceramics (AD 1276 to 1368) (Raphael, 1932: 14). ...
In Courtly Mediators, Leah R. Clark investigates the exchange of a range of materials and objects, including metalware, ceramic drug jars, Chinese porcelain, and aromatics, across the early modern Italian, Mamluk, and Ottoman courts. She provides a new narrative that places Aragonese Naples at the center of an international courtly culture, where cosmopolitanism and the transcultural flourished, and in which artists, ambassadors, and luxury goods actively participated. By articulating how and why transcultural objects were exchanged, displayed, copied, and framed, she provides a new methodological framework that transforms our understanding of the Italian Renaissance court. Clark's volume provides a multi-sensorial, innovative reading of Italian Renaissance art. It demonstrates that the early modern culture of collecting was more than a humanistic enterprise associated with the European roots of the Renaissance. Rather, it was sustained by interactions with global material cultures from the Islamic world and beyond.
This volume explores human migration, communication, and cross-cultural exchange on the Silk Road, a complex network of trade routes spanning the Eurasian continent and beyond. It covers thousands of years of human history, from the 3rd millennium bce to the early 2nd millennium ce. Consolidating archaeological discoveries, historical analyses, and linguistic studies in one comprehensive volume, The World of the Ancient Silk Road brings to light diverse perspectives from scholars who have lived and worked across this vast region, many of which are published here in English for the first time. It contains extensive references of primary and secondary sources in their original languages and scripts. From Early Bronze Age cultures to the rise of regional Islamic empires, from the Mediterranean to the Yellow River basin, this multidisciplinary volume seeks to offer new insights and expand Silk Road studies to the Anglophone world. The World of the Ancient Silk Road provides an essential reference work for students and scholars of world history, particularly those studying the regions, cultures, and peoples explored in this volume.
The importation of Chinese porcelain and celadon into Europe has long been thought to have first begun around the thirteenth century AD. A unique group of Chinese ceramic sherds from archaeological contexts in Spain dated to between the ninth and eleventh centuries, however, now represents the earliest Chinese wares identified in Europe. Such an unexpectedly early presence on high-status sites in Western Europe probably reflects changing patterns of commerce in the Indian Ocean and the giving of prestigious gifts at the very highest levels of social and political power across the Islamic Mediterranean world.