Label: This plate is from a large set of dishes ordered by a high-ranking Persian noble named in the Persian-language inscription at the center.
For more than a thousand years, China has been exporting large quantities of ceramics to other Asian countries, and the trade in pottery and porcelain has been an important component of the world economy. Some areas, such as the islands of Indonesia, did not have large-scale ceramics industries of their own. Others, such as Japan, Persia, and Siam (now known as Thailand), had such industries but still wanted Chinese wares, some of which were technically superior to most of their locally made wares.
Merchants and suppliers learned early on that they could sell more of their products by customizing them for the needs and tastes of various foreign markets. For instance, Persia would buy large plates on which to serve dishes such as pilaf, and Siam would buy teapots decorated by the Chinese with Thai designs.