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why china trade silk porcelain tea opium

Porcelain was a useful commodity. It was cheap and people wanted to buy it. Although it did not make the Company rich, it was good to transport, adding ballast to the ships without tainting the tea cargoes.

The Chinese craftsmen were very versatile. They were long used to giving customers what they wanted and were ready to produce goods in any shape or pattern. They used traditional patterns like ‘rice grain’ as well as developing designs such as ‘willow pattern’ in response to western taste.

In 1713 alone the Company brought in over 517,000 pieces.

  sale catalogue   punchbowl

East India Co Sale Catalogue for March 1704 - Extracts detailing porcelain imports.
H/10 ff.3v, 20v & 24v
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

Punchbowl in coloured enamels with a continuous scene of the factories at Canton. c. 1780-90
Copyright The British Museum
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

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