The role of archives accounting in 11th year, Qianlong(1746)
Project (2015-2016)

Shards and Money: Managing Quantities, Qualities, and Finances in Ming-Qing Imperial Porcelain Production

How much capital did the Ming and Qing dynasties invest in the production of imperial porcelain? In what units was the accounting done and what were the most expensive and high-loss aspects when dealing with porcelain: acquiring the material and transport, or design, forming, burning, and glazing? What happened to discarded objects? How and at what cost was production scaled up to cater to the ever-expanding need for porcelain for imperial and diplomatic use? This project investigates the planning histories of Chinese imperial porcelain from the perspective of running this sector as a “big business” for which special technological and managing expertise had to work hand in hand to get things done.