Cloisonne

Cloisonné enameling refers to a very specific type of metal decoration. The enameling is created by welding silver or gold wires according to a set pattern to form compartments on the surface of a metal object. The spaces in-between the pattern are filled with colored glass paste. Once the entire object has been decorated and filled, it is fired in a kiln. This melts the glass paste creating the typical enameled pattern on top of the object. The metal wires are still retained in the form of raised borders in-between the pattern. The technique was very popular in France and it was traditionally used to create unique jewelry and small decorative items. However, during the Byzantine Empire, the technique spread from the Mediterranean over to Persia and from there to China. Both the Persians and the Chinese modified and adapted the basic pattern to create unique local techniques which make it very easy to identify. Chinese cloisonné is very popular at present and the same technique is used to create beautiful pieces.

Cloisonné came to China in the early fourteenth to the late fifteenth century. The process became very popular with court artisans and the earliest recorded piece is from the Ming Xuande Emperor's reign in 1426. According to researchers, the Yuan Dynasty of China was established in Yunan by the Mongol king Kublai Khan. The Yunan province was the first to produce unique pieces as it was under the Mongol rule. It is supposed that Islamic artisans taught the locals the tricks of the trade. Palace artisans quickly adapted the technique on to large utensils resulting in intricate patterns that were considered ideal for the luxurious Chinese Imperial quarters. Due to the Islamic influences, most of the pieces were in green, blue and gold and subtle Islamic tweaks could be seen. However, early Chinese cloisonné was so delicate that very few imperial pieces have survived to date. Most of these pieces are now stored with the Palace Museum

Antique 20s Chinese CLoisonne Vase Black Peony
Antique 20s Chinese CLoisonne Vase Black Peony $79.00
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LOT of 3 Early 1900s ANTIQUE CHINESE CLOISONNE VASE Enamel Bud SIGNED Flower
LOT of 3 Early 1900s ANTIQUE CHINESE CLOISONNE VASE Enamel Bud SIGNED Flower $51.04
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Antique c1900 Double Dragon Pearl Cloisonne Gilded Bronze Humidor Foo Dog Finial
Antique c1900 Double Dragon Pearl Cloisonne Gilded Bronze Humidor Foo Dog Finial $199.98
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Japanese Golden Age Cloisonne Vase Designed with The Great Wave
Japanese Golden Age Cloisonne Vase Designed with The Great Wave $150.00
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ANTIQUE CLOISONNE VASE Black with multi color Floral Design 6 tall
ANTIQUE CLOISONNE VASE Black with multi color Floral Design 6 tall $99.99
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Large Chinese Cloisonne box blue with flowers
Large Chinese Cloisonne box blue with flowers $69.00
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Antique Japanese Ovoid Shaped Silver Wire Cloisonne Vase
Antique Japanese Ovoid Shaped Silver Wire Cloisonne Vase $150.00
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fine antique chinese bronze vase with floral cloisonne enamel inlay
fine antique chinese bronze vase with floral cloisonne enamel inlay $72.00
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Large Chinese Cloisonne Jar brown covered cloisonne bowl with lid
Large Chinese Cloisonne Jar brown covered cloisonne bowl with lid $85.00
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Antique Chinese White Cloisonne Dish with Lid
Antique Chinese White Cloisonne Dish with Lid $65.00
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Set 2 CHINESE STUNNING CLOISONNE Ginger Jars JINGEA LABEL Petit 5 tall
Set 2 CHINESE STUNNING CLOISONNE Ginger Jars JINGEA LABEL Petit 5 tall $50.00
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JINGFA CHINESE CLOISONNE URN GINGER JAR ORNATE W INTRICATE DESIGN
JINGFA CHINESE CLOISONNE URN GINGER JAR ORNATE W INTRICATE DESIGN $149.99
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THIRTEEN PIECE CHINESE ANTIQUE VINTAGE CLOISONNE SNUFF BOTTLES AND MORE
THIRTEEN PIECE CHINESE ANTIQUE VINTAGE CLOISONNE SNUFF BOTTLES AND MORE $90.00
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Lot of 3 Antique ESTATE Cloisonn Enamel Sparkly Bronze Vase Bowl Dish CHINA
Lot of 3 Antique ESTATE Cloisonn Enamel Sparkly Bronze Vase Bowl Dish CHINA $75.00
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FOURTEEN PIECE CHINESE CLOISONNE SNUFF BOTTLES AND CINNABAR LOT
FOURTEEN PIECE CHINESE CLOISONNE SNUFF BOTTLES AND CINNABAR LOT $110.00
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Vintage Chinese Cloisonn Lot 13 Lidded Box Trinket Case Bowl Toothpick Holder
Vintage Chinese Cloisonn Lot 13 Lidded Box Trinket Case Bowl Toothpick Holder $100.00
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Vtg Chinese Export Cloisonne Enamel Cabinet Vase Cherry Blossoms leaf clouds
Vtg Chinese Export Cloisonne Enamel Cabinet Vase Cherry Blossoms leaf clouds $75.00
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Vintage Chinese Cloisonn Lot 8 Lidded Canister Cigarette Jar Case Floral
Vintage Chinese Cloisonn Lot 8 Lidded Canister Cigarette Jar Case Floral $115.00
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Vintage 47 Chinese Cloisonn Hinged Box Flat Top Chest Floral Enamel
Vintage 47 Chinese Cloisonn Hinged Box Flat Top Chest Floral Enamel $50.00
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Vintage Cloisonne Copper Enameled Birds Mated Cockatiel Figurines w perch RARE
Vintage Cloisonne Copper Enameled Birds Mated Cockatiel Figurines w perch RARE $99.95
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Vintage 46 Chinese Cloisonn Hinged Box Rounded Top Chest Floral Enamel
Vintage 46 Chinese Cloisonn Hinged Box Rounded Top Chest Floral Enamel $50.00
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Antique Vintage 55x5 Chinese Cloisonn Lidded Ginger Jar Urn Floral Orig Label
Antique Vintage 55x5 Chinese Cloisonn Lidded Ginger Jar Urn Floral Orig Label $65.00
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As time passed, the enamelware became very popular. By the late Yuan Dynasty, this type of enamelware became very popular with locals and in the royal court. The emperors KangXi and QianLong were fascinated with the beauty of cloisonné and they encouraged their artisans to work with the material. The procedure was refined and perfected resulting in wonderful new styles and patterns. By the late Quig Dynasty, the style had percolated down to the lower classes and cloisonné artisans started to make commercial pieces that could be purchased by the Chinese middle class. Artists like Lao Tian Li, Bao Hua Sheng, De Xing Cheng, Jing Yuan Tang etc switched over from elaborate imperial styles to functional everyday patterns that could be used in every household.

Very soon, by the early 19th Century, cheaper pieces were impressing Western merchants and from there, they were quickly exported to the Western world. The Western World was so impressed by the simpler pieces that demand for the artwork doubled. Initially, the traders used to purchase enamelware in bulk but they quickly started giving artisans individual contracts and the artwork improved considerably. Over the next decade, demand for high quality Chinese cloisonne increased by leaps and bounds.