© 2018

Chinese Porcelain in Colonial Mexico

The Material Worlds of an Early Modern Trade


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pacific History book series (PASPH)

Table of contents

About this book


This book follows Chinese porcelain through the commodity chain, from its production in China to trade with Spanish Merchants in Manila, and to its eventual adoption by colonial society in Mexico. As trade connections increased in the early modern period, porcelain became an immensely popular and global product. This study focuses on one of the most exported objects, the guan. It shows how this porcelain jar was produced, made accessible across vast distances and how designs were borrowed and transformed into new creations within different artistic cultures. While people had increased access to global markets and products, this book argues that this new connectivity could engender more local outlooks and even heightened isolation in some places. It looks beyond the guan to the broader context of transpacific trade during this period, highlighting the importance and impact of Asian commodities in Spanish America.


Ceramic Jingdezhen Manila Mexico Pottery Artisan Transpacific Galleon Globalization Trade Production Consumption Commodity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Europe-Asia ProgrammeSciences PoLe HavreFrance

About the authors

Meha Priyadarshini is Fellow at the Sciences Po Europe-Asia Programme in Le Havre, France. Her research and teaching interests include global history, material culture studies, colonial Latin American history and art history. She earned her PhD from Columbia University and has held fellowships at the Getty Research Institute, the European University Institute and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Chinese Porcelain in Colonial Mexico
  • Book Subtitle The Material Worlds of an Early Modern Trade
  • Authors Meha Priyadarshini
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Pacific History
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Pacific History
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-66546-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-88268-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-66547-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 198
  • Number of Illustrations 5 b/w illustrations, 25 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Asian History
    Latin American History
    Imperialism and Colonialism
    Cultural History
    Social History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book about Chinese porcelain in Colonial Mexico does far more than situate a Chinese commodity in a Latin American context: it takes us on a global journey. Jingdezhen, Manila, Acapulco and Puebla—sites that are connected through the trade in porcelain—each allow very different local stories to be told: about artisanal skills and crab-like bodies, about packaging and over-loaded ships, about race and chocolate and Aztec legends. Accompanied by richly varied illustrations, these stories tell an impressive global history that makes an important argument not only about the centrality of the Pacific Ocean and Latin America in global history, but also about the key role of Asian goods in the formation of colonial Mexican identity. Insightful, wide-ranging, and a joy to read.” (Anne Gerritsen, University of Warwick, UK)

“Priyadarshini’s’ compelling book offers a unique perspective on the transpacific exchange during the sterling age of the Manila Galleon through the ‘first global brand’ of the Modern Era.  Connecting Jingdezhen with Puebla through consumer demand in the New World (i.e., how the guan became the chocolatero), Chinese Porcelain in Colonial Mexico is an impactful contribution to scholarship on the Spanish empire and its multi-faceted relations across the Pacific Ocean.” (Edward R. Slack, Jr., Eastern Washington University, USA)