Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Michelle Erickson

made in china

made in china

Michelle Erickson. made in china, 2008–2009.

Made In China Using the 18th century Blanc de Chine figure of Quanyin as a springboard Made in China plays off the history of the importing of Chinese porcelain to make a statement about the state of ‘china trade’ in the 21st century. The 8-armed goddess of prosperity holds a variety of symbols and objects that put this theme in a modern context. She is adorned with crossed bullet bands and pearls wielding an AK 47 and a large gem, as well as the Olympic symbol, a gas mask a yen and dollar sign and a fan in the form of the shell oil emblem. Seated in the top cup of a tripartite pickle dish embellished with pearls and natural shells, bullet shells, and shell oil ‘shells’, her elaborate stand created from jars of face creams and beauty ointments reference the ‘prunus’ design blanc de chine wares created by the English and European porcelain makers in imitation of the Chinese imported wares. The three- shell dish is irreverently marked with the iconographic “Made In China” and the Chinese characters of the same phrase run down her back. There are many layers of interpretation historically socially and politically that allude to the idea that American and European interests are in fact the driving force as well as the benefactors of modern China trade. However the work also references the period in history when the east opens to the west through Dutch trade with China, when Chinese porcelain was the most elite and desired material in the western world. Sought after by royalty this rarity transformed to commodity becomes the driving force behind western ceramics for the next 200 years and established the mercantile relationship with the east that exists today.


iconography, beauty, sculpture, ceramic, china, porcelain, history, art

paradise lostmade in chinaFossil TeapotShell Pickle StandOctopus Junk TeapotFront and CenterpieceTimepeace

hampton, VA

18 North Mallory Street
hampton, VA 23663

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