Florentine Traders in Asia and the Medici Porcelain Collection
by Maura Rinaldi
In the 16th and 17th centuries Florence was an extremely wealthy city due to its textile industry and banking system. Florentine agencies established in Lisbon often financed or owned many of the ships sent by the Portuguese towards the Indies, in those ships travelled their agents whom not only traded in the oriental products but also kept well informed their masters, the Medici, of what was available in those exotic markets.
The Medici, rulers of Florence and one of the most influential families in Europe, were refined connoisseurs and collectors, by the mid-16th century they already owned 1.250 pieces and by the end of the 17th century their collection amounted to several thousand pieces, including Japanese wares. This talk illustrated the Chinese porcelain pieces almost certainly owned by the Medici now housed in the Museo degli Argenti in the Pitti Palace in Florence.
Maura Rinaldi is an independent scholar, international lecturer and author of several publications including Kraak Porcelain – A Moment in the History of Trade (1989); The Ceramic Cargo of the Concepcion Wrecked in 1638 (1990); Ceramics in Scholarly Taste, catalogue of the exhibition held jointly by the SEACS and the National Museum (1993) and several articles in different journals. Mrs. Rinaldi has lived in Singapore from 1980 to 1996 when she was involved with the Friends of the Museum in several capacities including being their President in 1983 and with SEACS being their Vice-President for several years. She now resides in Rome, Italy where her interest has now evolved from porcelain to the role played by the Florentines in the Portuguese conquest of the Indies.
7 pm, Tuesday, 1 November 2011
82 Cairnhill Road