Dating chinese porcelain
Tea-drinking never became popular in Mexico; the cups were probably used for the drinking of chocolate, which the Spaniards had adopted from the Aztecs.
While in the sixteenth century large collections of porcelain in Europe were formed by noblemen such as the collection of the Medici and the one of Ferdinand II of Austria at Schloss Ambras, in Mexico porcelain was the property of many people. Jean Charles Davillier, Les Origines de la Porcelaine en Europe.
Twentieth-century excavations for the Mexico City Metro uncovered a large collection of archaeological artifacts including quantities of Chinese porcelain shards.
Although these cannot be dated, Chinese porcelain shards were of such volume "as to make it obvious that it was not a ware used only by the rich." Most of the shards found were parts of tea or wine cups and rice bowls.
The presence of many (44) pieces of kinrande wares in the Topkapi Palace Collection, and the famous kinrande bowls acquired by Count Manderscheidt in Turkey, have given cause to assume that such wares arrived in Europe from the Middle East.
Also, the collection of Cosimo de' Medici, which according to an inventory taken in 1553 contained over 373 pieces of porcelain, could have had the Middle East as its source.
Some of it was then carried on muleback to Vera Cruz via Puebla, while most of it was taken to Mexico City (see map).
Although this was the northernmost outpost of New Spain, a frontier settlement, a list of all the posessions of Doña Francisca Galindo, a member of Oñate's 1600 expedition, indicates that some of these early settlers were of wealthy background and owned luxurious articles of clothing and household goods: Nine dresses, two of brown and green cloth, trimmed; another of velvet adorned with velvet belts and gold clasps; another of black satin with silk gimps; another of black taffeta, trimmed; another of coarse green cloth with sashes embroidered in gold; another of crimson satin with sashes and gold trimming; another of tawny color with a white Chinese embroidered skirt; further, two silk shawls with bead tassels; four pairs of thin wool sleeves; one damask and velvet hoopskirt; four ruffs, four cold coiffures; twelve plain bonnets, six shirts; three pairs of fancy cuffs; one necklace of pearls and garnets with a large cross; a headdress of pearls...." With such luxurious clothing and household goods, it is not surprising that Chinese porcelain was found at the first Spanish settlement of San Gabriel de Yunque, which was founded in 1598.
Such pieces are painted in solid colors, red, green or blue with gold-leaf decoration, and bowls usually have a blue trellis border on the inside rim. Clarence Shangraw and Edward Von der Porten, The Drake and Cermeño Expeditions: Chinese Porcelains at Drake's Bay California 15, Santa Rosa Junior College and Drake Navigator's Guild, Santa Rosa and Palo Alto, California 1981, p.
Wares of the kinrande type are in the collection of Schloss Ambras formed in the latter part of the sixteenth century by the Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529–1595), and in the Topkapi Palace Collection of Istanbul.
The Philippines had been a market for Chinese ceramics since Tang times.
Spanish traders quickly saw the opportunity to send Chinese porcelain to the Spanish colonies in the Americas in exchange for silver, much in demand in China. These pieces are mentioned as belonging to Philip II at the Escorial in 1577.