Ceramic Through History: Inspiration from the Philly Art Museum

Ceramic Through History: Inspiration from the Philly Art Museum

Last month I visited the Philadelphia Art Museum for the first time and I was so taken by everything I saw. 

The museum was completed in 1928. It is next to the Schuylkill River. The gigantic columns and decorations on the roof lines remind me of ancient Egyptian temples. The museum was built with dolomite stones from Minnesota. Each corner of the building is guarded by griffins instead of the usual gargoyles. 

Philly Art Museum has fascinating permanent exhibits including an armor exhibit and an Asian exhibit section that contain many potteries from Japan and China.

This is one of the porcelain vase with celadon glaze made by a Japanese artist named Kawase Shinobu in 1987. It is called "Vase in the Shape of a Lotus Leaf" and it has a very small opening around the 3 o'clock of the round lotus leaf. The porcelain is so thin on the edges of this vase that it's translucent and could not hold onto the light blue celadon so it's more white than the rest of the vase. It feels so elegant and fragile. 

Here's a silver set of teapot and milk jug by James Powell in the UK in the late 1800s. The very uniformed straight-lined design of the jug in the back seems to be the European style to now, as I see similarities between this set made in silver almost 230 years ago vs. Florian Gadsby's work made contemporarily.


Here are some very interesting Chinese teapots. The top ones made from clay and bottom ones made from porcelain. Both materials are highly revered in China even to this date (yes we love our tea!). As a fun fact, did you know that tea is called "tea" if it was travelled by sea and it's called "chai" if traveled by land? Some fascinating facts about the language of tea here.


On the way back to Temple University, we found this lovely local pottery shop called Neighborhood Potters. It seems to be a lovely cute shop! Someone should check them out if you guys are in Philly next time. It's opposite of the Eastern State Penitentiary.

I find myself loving art history more when I don't have an exam to pass. I can research down a rabbit hole for two hours on a specific piece of painting or ceramics. Learning to connect myself with the past and the current world without the pressure of having to do so is a wonderful feeling.

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