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Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

During the eighteenth century Europeans coveted Chinese imports and developed an intense interest in Chinese clothes, porcelain, tea, and other items. These items were known as chinoiserie. Europeans imported thousands of bolts of cloth to make Chinese-style clothing and wall and window coverings. European textile manufacturers learned Chinese dyeing techniques and soon printed cloth with Oriental scenes of pagodas, temples, and other Chinese-inspired objects. In addition, Europeans began dyeing cloth in colors once only seen on imported Chinese fabrics, including a pale golden yellow and a light green, called "Chinese green."

Some clothing styles imitated the Far East. The most popular was the banyan, an informal robe, worn by men at home instead of a justaucorps, or a suit coat. Some styles of banyan looked very similar to the cheongsam worn in early Asian cultures. The robe had a stand-up collar, long sleeves, and its opening crossed over the chest to tie just under the right shoulder. Other banyan styles imitated Indian jackets that buttoned up the front and were called Indian gowns. Banyans were made out of expensive silk or printed cotton. They were so popular in the late eighteenth century that many wealthy men had themselves painted wearing a banyan and cap instead of more formal clothing, which had been the norm for centuries. Other oriental styles and patterns would become popular in future eras, including the 1920s and the 1980s.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Halls, Zillah. Men's Costume: 17501800. London, England: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

[See also Volume 2, Early Asian Cultures: Cheongsam ]

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Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie. Style of European architecture and artefacts in the Chinese Taste, intended to evoke China, first appearing in C17, and reaching the heights of delicacy and inventiveness in C18 and early C19, notably in Germany. Garden-buildings in the Chinese style include bridges (often with Chinese fret balustrades), summer- and tea-houses, and pagodas. The most celebrated examples are the Pagoda in Kew Gardens (1763) by Chambers (whose Designs of Chinese Buildings of 1757 was regarded as a source for pictures of Chinese architecture), the Tea House in the grounds of the palaces at Potsdam (1754–7) designed by King Frederick the Great (1740–86) and Büring, and the Chinese House, Drottningholm, Sweden, by Adelcrantz. In the 1750s buildings in the Chinese Taste and the Gothick style were regarded as relaxations from Classicism, and were treated almost as a branch of exotic Rococo. This is made clear in William Halfpenny's Chinese and Gothic Architecture (1752), while William and John Halfpenny's Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste (1752–5) further popularized the style. The interiors of Brighton Pavilion have Chinoiserie elements, including some gaudy decorations by Frederick Crace (1779–1859). The jardin anglo-chinois was an informal, irregularly planned C18 garden, in which Chinoiserie touches could be found. See Sharawadgi.

Bibliography

Conner (1979);
Honour (1961);
Impey (1977);
Jacobson (1993);
O. Sirén (1990);
Vance (1985)

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chinoiserie

chinoiserie (shēnwäzrē´), decorative work produced under the influence of Chinese art, applied particularly to the more fanciful and extravagant manifestations. Intimations of Eastern art reached Europe in the Middle Ages in the porcelains brought by returning travelers. Eastern trade was maintained during the intervening centuries, and the East India trading companies of the 17th and 18th cent. imported Chinese lacquers and porcelains. Dutch ceramics quickly showed the influence of Chinese blue-and-white porcelains. In the middle of the 18th cent. the enthusiasm for Chinese objects affected practically every decorative art applied to interiors, furniture, tapestries, and bibelots and supplied artisans with fanciful motifs of scenery, human figures, pagodas, intricate lattices, and exotic birds and flowers. In France the Louis XV style gave especial opportunities to chinoiserie, as it blended well with the established rococo. Whole rooms, such as those at Chantilly, were painted with compositions in chinoiserie, and Watteau and other artists brought consummate craftsmanship to the style. Thomas Chippendale, the chief exponent in England, produced a unique and decorative type of furniture. The craze early reached the American colonies. Chinese objects, particularly fine wallpapers, played an important role in the adornment of rooms, and especially in Philadelphia the style had a pronounced effect upon design.

See study by H. Honour (1961).

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chinoiserie

chinoiserie the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century.

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chinoiserie

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