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Image of Chinese Cloisonné Table Lamp

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Unknown Artist

Chinese Cloisonné Table Lamp

Cloissone enamel


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

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • cloisonné - A technique of enameling in which the design is laid down in thin metal strips on a metal or porcelain ground, forming chambers (cloisons) to receive the vitreous enamel pastes.
  • enamel - A semi-transparent or opaque vitreous, porcelain-like coating applied by fusion to metal, glass, or ceramic, having a glossy appearance after hardening. Enamel is typically made from powdered fusible glasses (e.g., quartz, feldspar, clay, soda, and borax) and opaque colorants (e.g., cobalt blue, tin oxide) mixed with oil or water, then painted or sprayed on the object and fired up to 800 C. Enamel is used to protect a surface, to decorate objects in various colors and patterns, to form a surface for encaustic painting, and for other purposes.
  • table lamps - Lamps with a relatively short stem making them suitable for standing on tables and other furniture. The term is especially used in reference to late 18th-century lamps designed to burn whale oil and burning fluid compounds, which generally maintain the traditional stemware divisions of top, stem, and foot and often resemble stemmed drinking glasses of the same period.
  • vases - Vessels of varying shape and size but which are usually taller than they are wide, varying greatly in actual form and use. In modern usage, typically refers to vessels for displaying flowers. When referring to ancient art, often refers to any ceramic or metal vessel in a range of shapes and used to hold liquids, grain, or another substance.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image W.146_BMC_f_3.jpg

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • Beatrice Quette, Cloisonné (New York, NY: Bard Graduate Center, 2011),

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Chinese Cloisonné Table Lamp |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=8/13/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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