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World Ceramics:
Masterpieces from the V&A

The touring exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum travels to Damascus and Istanbul.


  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Khan Asaad Basha, Damascus
  • Pera Museum, Istanbul


  • To display 120 objects from the V&A’s ceramics collections to new audiences in both Syria and Turkey
  • To create opportunities for the exchange of expertise and increased inter-cultural understanding
  • To facilitate learning and knowledge sharing in museum management and practices between partners in the UK and Middle East

Project details

V&A ceramics collection
The V&A’s ceramics collections are the largest in existence and range from ancient Egyptian artefacts and some of the earliest examples of Chinese porcelain to contemporary studio pottery and industrially designed ceramics.

About the exhibition
World Ceramics: Masterpieces from the V&A explored the history of international ceramics from 3000 BC to the present day.

The exhibition highlighted the links between all the world’s great ceramic traditions. It also showed how international trade and cultural exchange spread manufacturing technologies, styles and usage – often dramatically changing the course of ceramic history.

It concluded with a survey of 20th-century ceramics, ranging from Russian Revolutionary porcelains to Post-Modern ceramic sculpture. One of the key objects on display was Picasso’s 1954 vase painted with the Artist at his Easel.

The exhibition was curated by Tim Stanley, Senior Curator from the V&A’s Asian Department (Middle Eastern).

Exhibition tour and success
World Ceramics: Masterpieces from the V&A completed its tour in July 2009 after travelling to:

  • Korean Foundation Cultural Centre, Seoul
  • Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf
  • Khan Asaad Basha, Damascus
  • Pera Museum, Istanbul 

The exhibition was a great success and developed partnerships in new regions for the V&A. The objects can now be seen in the V&A’s newly redeveloped Ceramics Galleries. 

The World Ceramics exhibition at the Pera Museum, Istanbul

The World Ceramics exhibition at the Pera Museum, Istanbul