Cloisonn?is an enamel ware, in which the colors of the design are kept apart by thin metal strips. Major work processes include: making the red-copper roughcast, forming patterns on the roughcast with thin copper strips, filling patterns with enamel of different colors, firing, and polishing. The making of Cloisonn?integrates bronze and porcelain-working skills, traditional painting and etching. It is the pinnacle of traditional Chinese handicraft.
Beijing is where Cloisonn?making originated. The earliest extant Cloisonn?was made in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The best was made during the Xuande period (1426-1456) of the Ming dynasty. During the Jingtai period (1426-1456) of the Ming, handicraftsmen found a dark-blue enamel which gave Cloisonn?a gorgeous, solemn look and is still used today.
During the Qianlong period (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty, the skills of making Cloisonn?reached their pinnacle when pure copper began to be used for roughcasts.
Beijingers like to decorate their homes with Cloisonn?articles. Young women love Cloisonn?bracelets and earrings. Cloisonn?articles are often used as gifts, too.
People are attracted by their blue beauty and glittering thin copper strips.
In Beijing, most shops in hotels as well as tourist stores sell Cloisonn?articles, which can be as big as sacrificial utensils, screens tables and chairs, and as small as chopsticks, earrings, candy boxes, toothpicks and smoking tools. They are works of art as well as articles with use value. Handicraftsmen have of late developed a multi-coloring technique for the making of Cloisonn? which has resulted in more refined and gorgeous products.