Ahead of this Chinese New Year, various places are decorated in oriental style and the elements of chinoiserie are so thick. So, what exactly is Chinoiserie? And what is its history and existence like from time to time?
1. The most coveted fashion of the aristocracy
Europeans became fascinated with Asian cultures and traditions during the 17th and 18th centuries. They loved to imitate or evoke Asian motifs in Western art, architecture, landscaping, furniture, and fashion. Chinoiserie is a Western aesthetic inspired by Eastern design, derives from the French word chinois, meaning “Chinese”.
A folding screen was one of the most popular expressions of Chinoiserie, often decorated with beautiful art. Themes included mythology, scenes of palace life, nature, and romance in Chinese literature—a young lady in love could take a curious peek hidden from behind a folding screen.
2. Chinoiserie’s popularity grew with rising trade in the East
During the 17th and 18th centuries the rising trade with China and East Asia brought an influx of Chinese and Indian goods into Europe aboard ships from the English, Dutch, French, and Swedish East India Companies.
The British East India Company had become the dominant player in East Asian trading in the middle of the 19th century, its rule extending across most of India, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, and British Hong Kong.
3. Chinoiserie in a tea cup for drinking
Drinking tea was the height of fashion for ladies of good taste and required an appropriate chinoiserie mise en scène. Tea and sugar were expensive commodities back then in the 80s era.
4. Porcelain was collected by the famous aristocratic women
The famous aristocratic women among them were Queen Mary, Queen Anne, Henrietta Howard, and the Duchess of Queensbury—all socially important women, whose homes served as examples of good taste and sociability.
Wealthy women helped define the prevailing vogue through their purchasing power.
5. Chinoiserie is related to the Rococo style
Both styles are characterized by exuberant decoration, a focus on materials. Below are the picture of Chateau de Chantilly, Princes of Condé’s apartments.
6. Marco Polo was the first European to describe a Chinese garden
Marco Polo visited the summer palace of Kublai Khan at Xanadu in around 1275.
There is at this place a very fine marble Palace, the rooms of which are all gilt and painted with figures of men and beasts and birds, and with a variety of trees and flowers, all executed with such exquisite art that you regard them with delight and astonishment. –Marco Polo
The Chinese garden landscaping style became popular in the West during the 18th century.
The Chinese House build in 1738 within the gardens of the English Palladian mansion at Stowe in Buckinghamshire, was the first of its kind in an English garden.
7. Wealthy gentlemen preferred Banyans to formal clothing
A matching waistcoat and cap werw so popular among whealthy men of the late 18th century that they posed for portaits wearing the banyan iinstead of formal clothing. that they posed Made from expensive silk brocades, damasks, and printed cottons, banyans were types of dressing gown with a kimono-like form and Eastern origin.