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Seminar: Leaping the Dragon Gate, Voids of Clay and Behind Beauty – It is all about Chinese Porcelain

The KVVAK and the Nederlandse Vereniging van Vrienden van Ceramiek en Glas (NVVCG) join forces and invite their members to this unique event at the Rijksmuseum Auditorium in Amsterdam on 26 November, 13.00 hrs.

The focus of this afternoon is on Chinese porcelain in all its exciting and colourful manifestations.

Four eminent scholars and experts in the Chinese porcelain field will give presentations on a.o. the famous Butler collection, new books will be presented and we will learn about what lies behind the beauty of women on Chinese porcelain.

Date:                      26 November 2022

Doors open:          12.30 hrs

Start:                      13.00 hrs

Venue:                   Auditorium Rijksmuseum

Registration:        See below the text (non-KVVAK members fill in 0000 as member number)



13.00 hrs             Welcome and introduction speakers

13.10 hrs             Katharine Butler: Introduction of the Butler collection and the book Leaping the Dragon Gate

13.35 hrs             Changement

13.40 hrs             Teresa Canepa: New discoveries, visually illustrated by pieces of the Butler collection

14.05 hrs             Break

14.30 hrs             Rose Kerr: video presentation of her publication Voids of Clay. The Enduring Beauty of Chinese Ceramics

15.00 hrs             Denise Campbell: Talk on the exhibition Behind Beauty at the Asian Pavilion

15.45 hrs             Book sale*, drinks, and visit the Asian Pavilion

*Leaping the Dragon Gate is on sale at a 15% discount this afternoon. Instead of 200,- the book will cost 170,- for KVVAK members on 26 November. Voids of Clay by Rose Kerr costs 55,-


Katharine Butler

This catalogue raisonné celebrates the most important collection of 17th century Chinese porcelain in the world, assembled by the distinguished British diplomat Sir Michael Butler (1927-2013). His passion for porcelain is clearly reflected in the over eight hundred pieces he collected and lived with at his home and private museum in Dorset. The pots (as Sir Michael called them), many of extreme rarity or exquisite quality, give testimony to the incredible depth of knowledge he acquired over five decades and his outstanding contribution to research and education in this previously neglected field of study.


Katharine Butler is the daughter of the collector, Sir Michael Butler. She has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh University and worked closely with her father from 2004 cataloguing and researching his collection. She been studying and collecting 17th-century Chinse porcelain ever since, co-authoring this catalogue raissoné with Teresa Canepa.

Teresa Canepa

New discoveries, visually illustrated by pieces of the Butler collection.

Teresa Canepa is an independent researcher and lecturer in Chinese and Japanese export art, and co-editor of the Newsletter of the Oriental Ceramic Society, London, since 2017. She completed a PhD in Art History at Leiden University and is the author of a number of books and articles and has lectured widely on these subjects.

Rose Kerr

Video presentation of her publication Voids of Clay. The Enduring Beauty of Chinese Ceramics.

Kerr’s new book Voids in Clay offers an introduction to the history and manufacture of three different ceramic wares: black and white pottery dating from the Neolithic period; Yaozhou stoneware dating from the five dynasties, the Song and Jin dynasties; Qingbai porcelain from the Song and Yuan dynasties.

The carefully selected objects in this book are part of a refined private collection of Chinese ceramics and reflect a personal preference and passion, reflected in the pages of this beautifully designed book.

Rose Kerr is an English art historian specializing in Chinese art, especially Chinese ceramics, on which she has written a number of books. She was the Keeper of the Far Eastern Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London until 2003. In 2015, she was made an honorary citizen of Jingdezhen, China, the historic centre of Chinese porcelain production, in recognition of her academic research on Jingdezhen ceramics, and her promotion of cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and China. She was the first non-Chinese citizen to be so honoured.

Denise Campbell

Talk on the exhibition Behind Beauty at the Asian Pavilion, about what lies behind the beauty of women on Chinese porcelain.

Beautiful women seem to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists worldwide. In China, art with such depictions proved extremely popular among large parts of the Chinese population. Illustrations and paintings served as inspiration for decorations on porcelain. European ceramics traders and collectors also liked these images. While the elegant, slender women appealed to their imagination, they knew little about the reality of Chinese life. The role of women in China, both in daily life and its rich cultural history, was multifaceted and layered. This presentation reveals what lies behind the beauty of women on Chinese porcelain.


Denise Campbell is curator of Asian ceramics at Keramiekmuseum Princessehof in Leeuwarden. Before that, she worked at the Department of Fine Arts at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Campbell studied Art and Cultural Studies and took the curatorial course at the University of Groningen. She worked as a curator at the Groninger Museum and, since 2015, in various positions at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. There, she immersed herself in the Asian ceramics collection on various projects and built a national and international network.