Chinamania: Multiples, Replicas, and Facsimiles

To evoke the decorative massing of a Victorian porcelain chamber, McConnell designed a display of blue-and-white porcelains from the Freer Gallery”s permanent collection. With their vivid cobalt blue designs on white porcelain, the Freer ceramics are similar to the ones that were originally displayed in the Peacock Room in London in the late nineteenth century.

McConnell also created a miniature “souvenir travel case” containing 3D-printed replicas of the Kangxi vessels. In the exhibition, the facsimiles are crated and packed as if ready for shipping, while the “originals,” which are themselves copies or versions of earlier ceramic forms, are arrayed nearby as if they are part of a larger decorative setting. The small replicas were created from digital scans that can be reprinted over and over. Such duplication further underscores the intersection of art, technology, commerce, and mass production that has always defined Chinamania.

Walter McConnell used scans to create his “souvenir travel case” of Kangxi ceramics in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art. Photographers at the Freer│Sackler collaborated with the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office (DPO) to produce the scans. Learn how DPO is using 3D technology to tell new stories about the Smithsonian’s iconic objects and hidden treasures, and download your own printable models at https://3d.si.edu/article/chinamania-blue-and-white-porcelain.

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We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.