Sunday, April 22, 2012

“It is difficult to see why lace should be so expensive;

it is mostly holes.”~Mary Wilson Little

 I talked about buying online the other week, but I am seriously wondering now who shops online...this is the second set of $145 used paint brushes...first set sold...
I am sure I am missing something here, and the price would not be bad if you threw in the painter.  There was also a ladder for $495!  I continue to be gobsmacked by the online prices!  Your local antique store is a far better not think that the online prices reflect the average least not in my area.

But, if you have that kind of cash in your wallet, we have a Victorian cloisonne ginger jar in the shop.  Granted, this is made in China, and I have been promoting American, but this is just a gem of a ginger jar....the art of cloisonne traces its roots to the 14th & 15th centuries. The earliest securely dated Chinese cloisonné is from the reign of the Ming Xuande emperor (1426–35). However, cloisonné is recorded during the previous Yuan dynasty, and it has been suggested that the technique was introduced to China at that time via the western province of Yunnan, which, under Mongol rule, received an influx of Islamic people.  If you think about the look, it does have an Arabic look.

Historically, ginger jars held provisions, including not just ginger but salt, oils and other spices.The ginger jar appellation is a vestige of the wealthy Westerners who bought imported jars filled with ginger, largely for decorative purposes. In China the jars have a variety of cultural roles. Some were made as gifts to Chinese emperors. Others were traditional wedding gifts to grooms.

Cloisonné is the technique of creating designs on metal vessels with colored-glass paste placed within enclosures made of copper or bronze wires, which have been bent or hammered into the desired pattern. Known as cloisons (French for "partitions"), the enclosures generally are either pasted or soldered onto the metal body. The glass paste, or enamel, is colored with metallic oxide and painted into the contained areas of the design. The vessel is usually fired at a relatively low temperature, about 800°C. Enamels commonly shrink after firing, and the process is repeated several times to fill in the designs. Once this process is complete, the surface of the vessel is rubbed until the edges of the cloisons are visible. They are then gilded, often on the edges, in the interior, and on the base.

Cloisonné objects were intended primarily for the furnishing of temples and palaces because their flamboyant splendor was considered appropriate to the function of these structures but not well suited to a more restrained atmosphere, such as that of a scholar's home. This opinion was expressed by Cao Zhao  in 1388 in his influential Gegu Yaolun (Guide to the Study of Antiquities), in which cloisonné was dismissed as being suitable only for lady's chambers. However, by the period of Emperor Xuande, this ware came to be greatly prized at court.

If the piece is a series of abstract patterns, perhaps with some stylized flowers,  then the piece is most likely of Chinese or Middle Eastern origin. If  it portrays a naturalistic scene, perhaps a bird such as a wren or sparrow perched on a twig and surrounded with a spray of flowers, then it is probably Japanese cloisonne. Examine some of the individual cloisons. Rather than being uniform blobs of color, cloisons on the finest Japanese wares often display delicate shading.

So, you could buy a couple paint brushes online, or you could check out a local antique shop for some cloisonne.

Or, as Pablo Picasso once said, "I don't own any of my own paintings because a Picasso original costs several thousand dollars--it's a luxury I can't afford."  If he were alive, he probably could not afford to buy his own paint brushes back!

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