The Difference Between Chinese Cloisonne and Japanese Cloisonne

Oriental art has always mystified people and has been appreciated by the Western Culture. However, only a few people can specify the difference between Chinese Cloisonne and Japanese Cloisonne. While seemingly similar to an uneducated eye their differences, once mentioned, are hard to look past. Below we explore a few differences between Chinese Cloisonne and Japanese Cloisonne.

Trade: Chinese Cloisonne was well developed before Japan even opened its door to trade businesses. Due to Japan’s desire to remain hidden from the rest of the world, they had a lot of catching up to do. Japan managed to reignite the popularity of their Cloisonne pieces amongst Europe and France Within two. Once their borders were opened, Japanese tradesmen were able to get the necessary skills and means to create new modified version of the Oriental Cloisonne.

Border & Rim: When looking at a piece of Cloisonne, the easiest way to tell the difference is not by the actual motif on the art piece but by actually looking at the rim and borders of each object. Chinese vases and boxes were often finished with a smooth and bright turquoise interior. On the other hand, Japanese boxes and vases were distinguishable by their orange peel texture on the enamel. They would use dark green, yellow, navy blue or gray enamel to decorate their vases.

The borders of the Chinese pieces were decorated in ruyi. Ruyi is a colorful design that is 1 inch in width. Japanese Cloisonne never has this border; instead they would use a thin circular decoration at the rims. The color of these decorations would be reddish brown, blue or green.

Types: Even though the Japanese started experimenting later with this technique, they had a larger variety of Cloisonne that they created.

Make sure to pay special attention to the rim and border when inspecting a piece of oriental art created by this ancient and beloved technique.