Cloisonne(Jing Tai Lan)
Introduction of Cloisonne
Jing Tai Lan, also called Copper Based Pinched Wire Enamel, has a history of more than 600 years. It is one of the most Beijing-featured traditional crafts. It uses gold, silver, copper and other natural minerals as the original materials, integrating fine art, crafts, carving, mosaic, glass melting and metallurgy together. Jing Tai Lan is simple, unsophisticated, refined, exquisite and luxury, which has stark national style and profound cultural connotation. It is called the national treasure and quintessence of Beijing. In the year 2006, it was listed into directory of the first national non-material cultural heritage. Jing Tai Lan is perfect and suitable for appreciation, collection, business gifts, everyday equipments, construction decoration of indoor and outdoor and etc.
Jing Tai Lan products of Ming and Qing dynasties were mainly used in the royal palace. To late Qing period, they appeared in the market as merchandise. As recorded in the historical materials, Jing Tai Lan was exported from Daoguang period of Qing dynasty. In the year 1904, Jing Tai Lan Bao Ding Furnace won the first prize in the World Expo in American Chicago. Later in 1915, it won the first prize again in Panama World's Fair. Since then, Jing Tai Lan got famous in the world.
Beijing is the birthplace and the most important place of origin of the Chinese Jing Tai Lan.
Technology of Cloisonne
Jing Tai Lan is the important variety of the metal crafts in China. Making Jing Tai Lan uses the red copper base first. Then the craftsman paint on it and then uses the copper wire to stick the corresponding pattern of the painting on the copper base. Different colors of enamel glaze materials were mounted in the patterns. Sintered over and over again and then polished and gold plated, Jing Tai Lan came into being. The use of bronze and china technology, traditional hand painting and carving techniques made Jing Tai Lan combination of Chinese traditional craft.
Status of Cloisonne
Jing Tai Lan was born in the royal palace and is the important part of the imperial family. It is the main display and also the treasure of the royal palace.
According to historical records, in the New Year Eve dinner of the reign f 44 years of Emperor Qian Long, only the emperor's tablewares were made of Jing Tai Lan. All others' were made of china. That shows the important role Jing Tai Lan played in the history. It is the symbol of identity and status. Because the special historical meanings and its techniques, Jing Tai Lan was listed into the national first non-material cultural heritage.
Legend of Cloisonne
It was said that at the beginning of Yuan dynasty, the royal palace was in fire. The Emperor's audience hall and all the priceless treasures were reduced to ashes. But there was one more colorful and shinning treasure bottle in the ruins. All the courtiers were surprised and they contributed it to the emperor. They said that it was granted by God. The emperor loved it too much to put it down and right then he ordered all the craftsmen in the capital city to produce the imitation and said that whoever couldn't do it would be killed.
Then the craftsmen in the capital city hurriedly began to study on the treasure bottle. But none of them could penetrate this blessed craft technology. Finally, they could just recourse to the First Carpenter Mr. Li, who was said to be later generation of one the Chinese Goddess Nv Wa. Mr. Li said Goddess Nv Wa appeared in his dream and told him that there is treasure bottle in the world. But it must be tempered by all the sufferings in the world. Mr. Li realized that this treasure bottle was formed by the melting gold, silver and gems in the fire of the royal palace.
Then he gathered all his craftsmen to connect the gold wire bottle together. They refined the gold, silver, copper, iron, aluminum and other gems using the way that Nv Wa fixed the sky stone and got the clear Seven Glaze. They paint the Seven Glaze on to the gold wire bottle and refined it. After that, they soaked it in the water and milled it on the stone. Finally, they got the treasure bottle!
The emperor was very pleasant to know that. Mr. Li was given the name Qiao Tian Gong, which means he was as clever as the craftsman from God. The emperor made his request that all the treasure bottles made by Mr. Li belonged to the royal palace no matter how many he would produce.
Because this kind of treasure never belonged to common people, this art became the royal art. During the Jing Tai period of Ming dynasty, the technology reached the highest level. And because of the usual used color peacock blue, this kind of crafts were called Cloisonne which means Jing Tai Lan(Blue) in Chinese. That name has been use till nowadays.