Chinese Enamels From the Yuan
Many human beings evidently share with the magpie a gene causing an irrational attraction to bright and shiny objects. If you suffer from this disorder, you will love “Cloisonn: , Ming and Qing Dynasties,” a ravishing exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center.
Displaying more than 160 items ranging from pocket to armchair size, the exhibition, on three floors of a former town house, samples almost seven centuries’ worth of domestic and ceremonial enamel ware. Bowls, vases, incense burners, jewelry boxes and garden stools made of uk canada goose copper alloys have surfaces covered with intricate mosaic patterns and imagery in pure blues, reds, yellows and greens. Many have additional gilded metal ornamentation in the form of dragons, lions, bears and elephants.
The show, which Canada Goose Jackets comes with a richly informative, lavishly illustrated catalog, was organized by the Bard Graduate Center in collaboration with Muse des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The curator is Batrice Quette of the Muse des Arts Decoratifs.
The cloisonn process entails application of pastes made of ground colored glass into cells that are bounded by thin strips of metal standing on edge on flat or curved surfaces. Heated in a kiln, the paste melts into enamel; sanding and buffing results in glossy surfaces.
Unlike lacquer ware, whose traditionally black or cinnabar red hue has a sobering effect on its otherwise sumptuous Canada Goose Coats On Sale designs, Chinese cloisonn much of which was made for imperial court decoration can have a gaudy opulence like that of French Rococo. The intoxicating sensual appeal may seem out of step with imperatives of Buddhist humility, but there is often a transcendentalist aspect in cloisonn’s metaphysical symbolism and its otherworldly beauty. A Qing dynasty plate with a ferocious, canada goose clearance serpentine dragon flying toward the viewer with talismanic emblems gripped in its talons is like a hallucinatory emissary canada goose factory sale from the collective unconscious.
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Simpler early works, like a pair of Yuan dynasty (1279 1368) bottles with cylindrical necks and rotund bodies bearing lively floral patterns, were inspired by Han dynasty forms from more than 1,000 years before. Four centuries canada goose store after those modest canada goose uk outlet containers come pieces like the fabulous 3 foot tall Qing dynasty “Grand Imperial Vase,” whose five parts include a trumpet shaped top canada goose coats with canada goose gold handles in the form of curvy, semi abstract mythic creatures; a bulbous body profusely covered by fish and flowers on buy canada goose jacket a turquoise background; and canada goose uk black friday a base supported by three golden chimera.
There are remarkable exceptions to the polychrome rule. An exceedingly elegant example is an 18th century ivory white basin with a dense vine pattern Canada Goose online drawn in copper alloy lines.
Some of the most enchanting works represent animals. A festive wine uk canada goose outlet vessel from the 18th century has a vase supported on the back buy canada goose jacket cheap of a fanciful, rainbow feathered bird whose breast rides on a pair of ornate wheels. It could canadian goose jacket be a pull toy for a wealthy child.
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Degrees of realism vary widely. Based on a Han dynasty prototype, an 18th century bottle with a canada goose clearance sale neck ending in the head of a duck and a spherical Canada Goose Parka body covered by hexagonal modules and red blossoms offers an archaic, semi abstract simplicity. A seven inch sculpture of a goose (possibly 17th century), on the other hand, is wonderfully naturalistic. Standing flat on golden, webbed feet, it turns its head to stare with goosey, goggle eyed curiosity.
Certain works exert mystic electricity. A large Qing dynasty vase in the cheap Canada Goose form of a flattened sphere known as a “pilgrim flask” has Canada Goose sale a mesmerizing mandala on either side. At the center is a small black and white yin yang symbol. And eight traditional Buddhist “auspicious symbols” including the Lotus, the Twin Fish and the Endless Knot are incorporated into the black and red trellislike pattern on a blue ground radiating from the center. Meditate on this canada goose black friday sale piece long enough and you might achieve Tantric liftoff.
Western interest in Chinese cloisonn blossomed after the second Opium War, which ended in 1860. (That conflict arose because the British had been smuggling opium in vast quantities from India to China, contrary to Chinese law.) Britain prevailed, and, in addition to forcing the Chinese to accept opium importing, liberalized trade with China generally. All kinds of Chinese antiquities found their way into the hands of Western scholars, collectors and museums. Duly impressed Canada Goose Outlet by cloisonn discoveries, some cheap canada goose uk linked site European artists designed their own Chinese style cloisonns. Several examples are in the exhibition, including one by the French painter James Tissot.
Around 1870, Tissot acquired a gorgeous basin with pastoral and mountainous landscapes on its sides that was among many treasures looted from the Summer Palace in Beijing by British and French soldiers canada goose uk shop in 1860. That object is here displayed next to a Tissot design Canada Goose Online that it inspired. The pairing is instructive. Tissot substituted for the cute golden lion shaped handles a pair of languorous, long haired nude women seated on dragon heads. The canadagooseparkasoutlet cloisonn landscapes on his basin relate to those of the Chinese piece, but they are pedestrian by comparison. His work is suave but spiritually dull; the Chinese piece is pure magic.