THE MARITIME SILK ROAD. Blossoming of the France - China Silk Trade MARITIME SILK ROAD

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1 THE MARITIME SILK ROAD Blossoming of the France - China Silk Trade THE MARITIME SILK ROAD MACAO MUSEUM 2015

2 A refined Chinese product, silk has fascinated the world for over 3000 years. The exhibition aims to highlight trade and cultural exchanges between China and France through the history of silk. It is often said that more trade has flowed through Macao than through Venice. An obligatory port of call for several centuries, Macao turned out to be a hub at the beginning of world trade in the 18 th century. Following two previous successful exhibitions, featuring Sino-French cultural exchanges, respectively From Versailles to the Forbidden City in 2007 and Fantasy World Chinoiserie in 2013, this could be a third consistent and coherent project for Macao Museum. Paintings, furnishing and clothing fabrics, models, objets d art, graphics, all exhibits would come from four French museums including Versailles. The exhibition could be enhanced with video, maps, interactive elements and photos about silk and maritime trade. The exhibition would be suitable for the French May.

3 Discovered in China several thousand years ago, silk fascinated the ancient Greeks and Romans, who sought to unlock the closely guarded secrets behind its production. The quality of Chinese silk gave rise to more than just worldwide trade by road and sea: it stimulated technical progress, mutual exchange and influence. 1. France, Italy, 14 th century 3. France, 1507 In Western Europe, during the 13 th century, the silk industry developed mainly in the northern part of Italy but the French towns of Lyon and Tours were later to become serious rivals to their Italian neighbours. 1 2 But all changed at the end of the 15 th century, with the achievements of Portuguese traders and sailors. They became familiar with the main trade routes of the Asian seas and thus assumed a privileged position as key partners with the Chinese in what would soon become an immensely lucrative enterprise 3

4 Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, reached Asia on board a Portuguese vessel, but died on Shangchuan Island in 1552, before he could reach the Chinese mainland. The Portuguese disembarked at Macao. The Jesuits arrived with them. In addition to serving as a key trading post and gateway to China, Macao quickly assumed strategic importance for religious organizations who settled there. 2 Renowned middle man between China and Europe, the Jesuits sent to the French court many Chinese books, among them works on sericulture Joseph-Marie Vien Saint François-Xavier qui débarque à la Chine, 1753 Painting commissioned by Marie Leszczynska, Queen of France, wife of Louis XV Song Yingxing Tian Gong Kai Wu

5 Jesuit and author of Portrait historique de l empereur de Chine, Joachim Bouvet persuaded Louis XIV to send a joint diplomatic and trade mission to China. This was the famous journey of the Amphitrite which set sail in 1698 from La Rochelle to Canton and returned to Port-Louis in the Bay of Lorient less than two years later. The cargo, sold in Nantes, consisted mainly of silk, tea and porcelain. Some of the goods were already made for the European market, there were also lacquered cabinets, birds and other exotic animals Foundation of the Observatory (1667): Colbert introducing to the King Louis XIV members of the Academy of Sciences. 2. Jean Guérard, Drawing for a fan: Sale of goods from the Amphitrite, ca

6 In 1701 a second French expedition set sail under the name of Compagnie de la Chine. France was trying to compete with other European countries and established a trading company after the Portuguese, Dutch and English had established their own. Trade exchanges continued to increase and flourished between the years 1730 and François René Dumigny. Le Dromadaire, navire pour les Indes, model made between 1759 and Jean-Baptiste Lefèvre. Portrait of Jacques Duval d Epremesnil, director of la Compagnie des Indes and Lorient Harbour, View of Lorient Harbour,

7 In Canton, the one and only trading place open to foreigners in China, the French Company acquired raw silk for the French manufactures, as well as ready-made silk fabrics such as pékins. Even if pékins and other Chinese fabrics were prohibited in France for several decades in order to protect the local manufacturers, smuggled Chinese luxury goods attuned to European taste continued to arrive. Queen Marie-Antoinette had decorated the salon des jeux in Versailles and her residence at Saint-Cloud with pékins Macao, Praia Grande 2. Factories of Canton 3. Pékin peint (gouache on silk taffeta), China, ca

8 In the mid 18 th century Lyon became the silk capital, and the French city dealt with all the European royal families. Chinese style influenced design, textile and fashion. 1. Jean-Marc Nattier. Portrait de Madame Adélaïde à l éventail, Fourth daughter of King Louis XV and Queen Marie Leszcynska in a silk dress, holding a fan may be imported from China 1

9 The Church, one of the main buyers of luxurious textiles to serve as vestments for priests and furnishing for altars, contributed to the development of global networks for both raw materials and finished goods. Wallpaper, fans, various fabrics, whether Chinese or French, became ever more popular and accessible to a wider range of society. The Manufacture de Jouy also reflected the taste for Chinoiserie, so much in fashion at the time. Well located between Paris and the court in Versailles, it gained the status of Royal Manufacture and an international reputation.

10 COLLECTIONS Château de Versailles Les Arts Décoratifs, musée de la Mode et du textile, Paris Musée de la Compagnie des Indes, Lorient Musée de la Toile de Jouy SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE François Gipouloux Directeur de recherche, CNRS Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, Conservateur au château de Versailles Denis Bruna, Conservateur au musée de la Mode et du textile Brigitte Nicolas, Directrice du musée de la Compagnie des Indes, Lorient Esclarmonde Monteil, Directrice du musée de la Toile de Jouy Cécile Léon Art Projects, 2014

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