Small and Delicate Black Enamel Chinese Cloisonne Vase | 1920
This exceptional piece was brought out of Japan during the occupation, though not Japanese in origin. It has a classic bulbous shape with a bronze collar around the middle portion of the neck. The metal work is extremely delicate and demonstrates fine craftsmanship. The type of metal trim on the bottom and top of the piece, (which was not machine tooled as later pieces were), indicates it was made around the 1920’s. The piece is in excellent condition with no repairs, cracks, or chips, or missing enamel. Dimensions: 2-1/2” dia. x 4-1/8”h.
Among the wide variety of artistic expressions of China, Cloisonné, also called Fa Lang, is perhaps the most comprehensive, traditional enameling technique combining high-level craftsmanship in bronze. The technique originated in the Middle East. However, upon its arrival in China in the 13-14th centuries, it found significant potential for expansion among the Beijing elite, including scholars and artisans. During the Ming Dynasty year, (1368-1644), cloisonné enamel reached a high level of complexity and sophistication.
The term “cloisonné” refers to the technique as well as to the finished product. It comes from the French word “cloison” which means “partition”. The metal filigree creates small compartments that are filled with enamel paste made of glass powder colored with metallic oxide ingredients, which is then fired, similar to how ceramics were produced. Finally, the piece is polished until the bright metal filigree becomes clearly visible. The combined brightness of the metal and the color of the enamel results in a finish with great harmony and sophistication. The entire process of a finished piece involves an average of 37 steps.