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2008 | 1-2 (224-225) | 3-11

Article title

'CLOISONNÉ' ENAMELS IN CHINA AND THE EXAMPLES IN THE PADEREWSKI COLLECTION AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM IN WARSAW (Technika emalii komorkowej ('cloisonné') na przykladzie kolekcji Ignacego Jana Paderewskiego w zbiorach MNW)

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Although China has been long known as a renowned centre of 'cloisonné' production, the technique itself did not originate there. 'Cloisonné' enamels were first used in parts of Roman Empire, Byzantium and Persia, from where the technology spread to China. The finest early examples of 'cloisonné' enamels in China were produced in the 14th century. The technique was well understood by the time of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) 'cloisonné' enamels received official status when they were included among the twenty-seven crafts established as the Royal Workshop. The term 'cloisonné' defines a complex technique of metalworking and enameling. Designs in threads of bronze or copper are welded onto the surface of the metal body of the vessel. The partitions or cells ('cloisons') thus created are filled in with various coloured-paste enamels. After firing and polishing, the exposed metal parts of the vessel are gilded. These colourful, enameled metal objects caught attention of Western collectors, including a famous Polish pianist and composer, a political activist and a patriot fighting for Polish independence, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, whose beautiful and rich 'cloisonné' collection is housed at the National Museum in Warsaw. The Paderewski Collection includes numerous 'cloisonné' enamel imitations of ancient bronzes, lacquer ware and ceramics. The most popular ornaments include floral decorations, especially flower scrolls (lotus or peony) in red, yellow, green and black on turquoise ground.




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  • Joanna Popkowska, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, al. Jerozolimskie 3, 00-495 Warszawa, Poland


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