In September 2022, Laurence Paul flew from London to Turkey, where she visited the famous Chinese porcelain collection in Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.
A nearly 12,000-piece collection of Chinese porcelain is on display in the Topkapi Palace Museum, revealing an uninterrupted historical chronology of the evolution of Chinese porcelains from the 13th to the 19th century.
The Topkapi Palace originally built between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, and has been enlarged and remodelled several times during its long history.
Until the mid-19th century, the Ottoman Sultan and his court located in the Topkapi Palace.
1922年废除了奥斯曼君主制后，托普卡匹皇宫于1924年4月3日由Mustafa Kemal Atatürk下令改建为博物馆。
After the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy in 1922, the Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum by order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on 3 April 1924.
Spanning over an area of over 5,250 square meters, a palace kitchen in Istanbul’s European side was once feeding over 5,000 people per day, during the heydays of the Ottoman Empire.
In order to make the court kitchens and tables more opulent, the Ottoman sultans of the 13th century began collecting the finest Chinese porcelain.
All the porcelain were using every day and not just for displayed. It was the only containers they had for food.
The coffee was very important in Turkey. Although coffee culture at the palace continued in the traditional manner during 19th century, consisting of coffee cups, cup holders and coffee jugs, Chinese porcelain coffee sets were used in their daily life.
Jam also had an important place in court life. The Ottoman sultans had special kitchen for making jams, juices and sweets. Inspired by the exhibition, Mrs Laurence Paul began making jam using fresh strawberries from Turkey by herself.
Historians believe that the actual number of Chinese porcelains used in the Ottoman palaces was over 100,000, but most of them were lost or destroyed in several earthquakes and fires.
Some of these pieces were presented as gifts from high-level state men or foreign diplomatic missions, and a significant part of the collection was transferred from China to the palaces through the ancient Silk Road.
Until the early 1700s, China was the only porcelain producer in the world, and the pieces it produced were very precious known as White Gold.
One of the most preferred types of Chinese porcelains in the palace kitchens was celadons because they were believed to change colour or get cracked when poison was added.
In the late 16th century, the Ottoman sultans customised and purchased many porcelains with Qur’anic verses for use as tableware.
From the 19th century, Turkish artists, through imitation and reinvention, also experimented with their own porcelain. Most of them inspired by Chinese blue and white porcelain.
The collection of Chinese porcelain in the Topkapi Palace Museum includes over 10,000 pieces of celadon, blue and white, monochrome and coloured porcelain from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
The collection of Chinese porcelain in the Topkapi Palace Museum is one of the largest and most valuable collections in overseas museums today.
The collection of the Topkapi Palace includes a wide range of porcelain from China to the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic countries of the Middle East from the 13th to the early 20th century.
The Topkapi Palace Collection is an important testimony to the history and development of Chinese ceramic production, manufacture and export trade.
2.Chinese porcelains used in Ottoman palace on display in Istanbul: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202010/06/WS5f7c2e99a31024ad0ba7d505.html
3.TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM: https://muze.gen.tr/muze-detay/topkapi