Cloisonne is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects. The decoration is formed by first adding compartments to the metal object by soldering or affixing silver or gold wires or thin strips placed on their edges. The finished product looks shining and smooth and dazzlingly beautiful.
The archaeologists haven’t reached an agreement about the origin of cloisonne. Some believe that it comes from Tang Dynasty while others believe that it was brought to China from West Asia and Arab countries during Kubla Khan’s westward expedition. It was first popular in Yunnan area and then among people in the capital and Central Plains.
Its artistic feature can be summarized by four words, namely shape, pattern, color and lustre. An exquisite object should first be well-shaped, which depends on the copper mold; the decorative patterns depend on welding copper wire; the bright colour depends on the fine powders; and the bright lustre relies on polishing and gold plating. So the making of cloisonne has combined drawing, carving, inlay, smelting and metallurgy, and that’s why it has profound cultural value and distinctive ethnic style.