The typical traditional handicraft cloisonné is also called copper padding thread weaving enamel. The elaborate art and the luxuriant appearance can attract customers at the first time. And it is also a collection with high value.
The cloisonné is a kind of Chinese antiques, so its history can be dated back to Yuan Dynasty.
In the capital (it is Beijing now) of Yuan Dynasty (1271 ~1368A.D), the cloisonné artwork rose. And in the following dynasty, Ming Dynasty (1450~1457A.D), this art developed and grew into a comparatively mature situation. Owing to blue enamel was primarily used; it was termed “jingtaiBlue”. The luxuriant appearance implied that it was only can be found in imperial family during the ancient time. But, after the people’s republic of china established, this art skill developed rapidly for the widely spread in the folk. Today, cloisonné gets a firmly reputation among the world.
Copper: the most one to make the body of cloisonné is copper. The characters of this metal, cheap, light, easily hammered and stretched provide many advantages to cast. Sometimes bronze and silver are used as well.
The shining wires are often made by silver or gold. It is bent into shapes that define the colored areas. The bends are all done at right angles, so that wire does not curve up.
The main dyestuff is enamel. This bright handicraft is usually fired with a thin layer of clear enamel. The main color is blue, red, yellow, green and black.
There are three types of cloisonné with their different appearances: concave, convex and flat. And the finishing method determines this final appearance.
No completely filled on the clisons is the typical appearance of the concave cloisonné. Capillary action causes the enamel surface to curve up against the cloisonné wire when the enamel is molten, producing a concave appearance.
Convex cloisonné is produced by overfilling each cloison, at the last firing. This gives each color area the appearance of slightly rounded mounds.
And the most common one is the flat cloisonné. After all the cloisons are filled the enamel is ground down to a smooth surface with lapidary equipment, using the same techniques as are used for polishing cabochon stones.
The top of the cloisonné wire is polished so it is flush with the enamel and has a bright luster. Some cloisonné enamel is electroplated with a thin film of gold, which will not tarnish as silver does.
Cloisonné in the world
China is not the only one country to produce cloisonné. This beautiful artwork can be found all in many countries.
In Japan, since the mid-19th century, artists produced cloisonné in large quantities of very high technical quality. And Russian cloisonné from the Tsarist era is also highly prized by collectors, especially from the House of Fabergé or Khlebnikov. The French and other nations also have produced small quantities. And in China mainland, Canton enamel sometimes may cause confusion with Chinese cloisonné. Canton enamel, a similar type of enamel work, is painted on freehand and does not utilize partitions to hold the colors separate.