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Image of Chinese Cloisonné Table Lamp

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Unknown Artist

Chinese Cloisonné Table Lamp

Cloissone enamel

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

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: W.146
Other Number(s): Deanery.165 or Deanery.166 (Deanery Number)
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Lighting Devices
Collection: Deanery Collection
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

Small vase-shaped lamp with wide-flaring lip. Decorated with vegetal and floral designs in cloisonné technique with blue, white, red, yellow, and green enamel. From center of vase, a small stand holds the bulb and lamp shade.

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. Cloisonné decoration in China began around the 13th or 14th century and became extremely popular and elaborate in the 15th century under the Ming dynasty.

The mid-19th century saw increased interest in and inspiration from Chinese art, which can be connected with the shift in economic and political relations between America and China. American and European access to highly desirable Chinese goods were restricted in the early 19th century, as the Western demand for Chinese goods far outweighed the Chinese interest in Western ones. The unequal balance erupted in the Opium Wars of 1839-1842 and 1856-1860.The treaties signed at the end of the Second Opium War opened trade relations between China and America, England, and France. The influx of Chinese goods after the treaty exposed American artists to Chinese art and design.

Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

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