Punch Bowl

Jingdezhen, China, ca. 1790

Enamel-decorated porcelain

Sewell C. Biggs bequest; 2004.130

Before the United States gained its independence, Asian exports bound for America were funneled through England and sold to colonists for a profit. The Empress of China was the first American vessel to travel the long distance to China to obtain its precious goods. That vessel left New York in 1784 and returned with Asian luxuries—such as silk, tea, and porcelains—fourteen months later. .