“Earth Transformed: Chinese Ceramics in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,” was a special installation of 79 Chinese ceramics from the museum’s renowned collection, including 30 new acquisitions, that coincided with the publication of the catalogue: Earth Transformed. Seventy-nine ceramics pieces, created over the last five thousand years, illustrated the range and quality of the Museum’s collection. Among them was a Neolithic-period granary, an exceptional piece, in part, because a sculpted human head peers from atop the earthenware jar. Such depictions of human images were rare in that period. In addition to prehistoric pottery and glazed early stoneware, porcelains of all types and colors were on display. Also included in the exhibit were examples of eighteenth-century imperial porcelain that depict a Western influence encouraged by the Manchu emperors, who set up studios for the artists inside the Forbidden City.
The late Mrs. Beth Schmid, Museum overseer and member of the Asian Department’s Visiting Committee, suggested the catalogue because much of the early collection and the later acquisitions had never been published. She and her two sons, Paul and Marc, and her daughter Lisa Schmid Alvord and Lisa’s husband, Joel Alvord, offered to fund the book, and Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director, followed up by suggesting the new exhibition.