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Chinese Cloisonné Temple Vase

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Unknown Artist

Chinese Cloisonné Temple Vase

Cloisonne enamel on metal

Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: W.720
Other Number(s): Deanery.105 (Deanery Number)
Geography: Asia, China
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Vases
Culture/Nationality: Chinese
Collection: Deanery Collection
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

This vase is one of a pair acquired by M. Carey Thomas, the first dean and second president of the college, to adorn her campus home, the Deanery. The other is located in the stairwell by the Ely Room. Here, this vase is displayed amongst other items from the Deanery such as the Sheraton sofa, the inlaid garden seat, and several teakwood side tables, and is an example of the international nature of Thomas’ decoration of the Deanery. The acquisition of this piece by Thomas is consistent with the late-19th century interest in Chinese design as the economic and political relations between America and China changed and highly desirable Chinese goods became more widely available.

The body and collar are decorated with geometric and floral designs executed in a technique called cloisonné. In cloisonné decoration, small metal wires are soldered to a metal object creating compartments (
cloisons in French), which are then filled with different colors of enamel. The enamel on this vase is primarily in tones of ivory, blue, rose, and green. The majority of the piece is decorated in abstract and floating floral designs on a colored background, yet a small section on the body appears to represent a landscape with several trees and flowers on a brown ground line.

Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

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