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

A VERY FINE CHINESE CLOISONNE LARGE BRUSH WASHER BOWL
A VERY FINE CHINESE CLOISONNE LARGE BRUSH WASHER BOWL $57.20 (9 Bids)
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Pair of Antique Japanese cloisonne duck vases Hirosuke Gonda 9 inches
Pair of Antique Japanese cloisonne duck vases Hirosuke Gonda 9  inches $950.00
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VINTAGE PAIR OF CHINESE CLOISONN VASES URN
VINTAGE PAIR OF CHINESE CLOISONN VASES URN $150.00 (1 Bid)
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Japanese antique enamel cloisonne vase Meiji 19th century possibly Ando Sato
Japanese antique enamel cloisonne vase Meiji 19th century possibly Ando Sato $125.00
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Stunning Pair of Vintage Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Vases 12
Stunning Pair of Vintage Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Vases 12 $350.00
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Vintage Cloisonne Emperor and Empress Set On Wooden Thrones
Vintage Cloisonne Emperor and Empress Set On Wooden Thrones $1,060.00 (3 Bids)
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20th C Chinese Cloisonn Enameled Double Gourd Vase
20th C Chinese Cloisonn Enameled Double Gourd Vase $61.00 (8 Bids)
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Fine Japanese Meiji era Cloisonne Vase w Detailed Floral Pattern c 1890
Fine Japanese Meiji era Cloisonne Vase w Detailed Floral Pattern c 1890 $200.00
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Very RARE Japanese Cloisonne Pair of Matching Mirrored Crane Vases WONDERFUL
Very RARE Japanese Cloisonne Pair of Matching Mirrored Crane Vases WONDERFUL $98.99 (1 Bid)
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Large Very Old Japanese Cloisonne Enamel Urn Vase w 2 Dragons Handles
Large  Very Old Japanese Cloisonne Enamel Urn Vase w 2 Dragons  Handles $126.89
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ANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY Chinese Cloisonne Dragon Covered Jar
ANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY Chinese Cloisonne Dragon Covered Jar $200.00
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Very Old Japanese Cloisonne Enamel Pencil Shape Dragon Vase WONDERFUL
Very Old Japanese Cloisonne Enamel Pencil Shape Dragon Vase WONDERFUL $69.99
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Chinese Cloisonne Yen Yen Vase
Chinese Cloisonne Yen Yen Vase $150.00
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Antique Japanese cloisonne koro with butterflies Incense censer Meiji
Antique Japanese cloisonne koro with butterflies Incense censer Meiji $325.00
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3 ANTIQUE JAPANESE MEIJI PERIOD CLOISONNE VASES SILVER WIRE c1890s ALL AF
3 ANTIQUE JAPANESE MEIJI PERIOD CLOISONNE VASES SILVER WIRE c1890s ALL AF $67.29
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IMPRESSIVE LARGE ANTIQUE CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL BOWL JARDINIERE BIRDS FLOWERS
IMPRESSIVE LARGE ANTIQUE CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL BOWL JARDINIERE BIRDS FLOWERS $68.98 (11 Bids)
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Vintage Japanese cloisonne vase with swimming coi fish
Vintage Japanese cloisonne vase with swimming coi fish $265.00
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TOP QUALITY VERY FINE JAPANESE MEIJI CLOISONNE VASE DRAGONS
TOP QUALITY VERY FINE JAPANESE MEIJI CLOISONNE VASE DRAGONS $200.00 (1 Bid)
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Antique Chinese Black Cloisonne Match Holder Burnt Matches Dish Smoking Set
Antique Chinese Black Cloisonne Match Holder  Burnt Matches Dish Smoking Set $71.10
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Antique Vintage FLORAL Blue Green Gold CLOISONNE Pill Box
Antique Vintage FLORAL Blue Green Gold CLOISONNE Pill Box $95.00
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1920s 1930s satsuma moriage cloisonne vase
1920s 1930s satsuma moriage cloisonne vase $50.00 (1 Bid)
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Antique Cloisonne Jar with Foo Dog Finial
Antique Cloisonne Jar with Foo Dog Finial $69.00
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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.