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Chinoiserie

Dawn Jacobson

13 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0714838365 / ISBN 13: 9780714838366
Published by Phaidon Press, 1999
Used Condition: Used: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Chinoiserie

Publisher: Phaidon Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Used: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Chinoiserie - the distinctive taste for decoration and architecture based on Chinese design - has its origins in the age-old fantasy of 'Cathay', the mysterious land of the East. This beautifully illustrated book shows the development of the style from its very beginnings, demonstrating its continuous influence in all of the decorative arts. With sumptuous photography showing all aspects of Chinoiserie, the book clarifies the ways in which the exotic East was incorporated into Western taste, in a way that still is relevant to all those involved in interior decoration today.

Review:

The late-'90s fascination with China in the political and business realms is reflected in fashion as well, and Chinoiserie explores a mix of 14th- to 20th-century decorative styles based on European fantasies of "Cathay." Emphatically not historically correct, chinoiserie is a style that grew out of a mélange of travelers' tales, exaggerations, odd lots from India to Japan, and the European imagination of the exotic. This book is peopled with characters ranging from Marco Polo to Madame de Pompadour to P.T. Barnum. Profuse illustrations conjure the visions of Watteau and Boucher, pot painters in Delft and Minton, garden and kiosk designers from England to Poland, and creators of 1920s movie palaces--the style's final incarnation. Tracing the history of commerce as well as the image, chapters cover the time when intercontinental travel and trade were difficult if not impossible, the flowering of French rococo chinoiserie and its spread across 18th-century Europe. It also looks at the jardin anglo-chinois, the descendants of originally aristocratic styles in middle-class English and American homes, and finally the withering of the fantastic Cathay as more reliable information and objects arrived in the West from China in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Should you be curious about the intricately carved dragon on a theater ceiling or wallpaper peopled with "monkeys dressed as Chinamen," this smartly designed book written with verve, a love of the subject, and an insider's point of view provides a jumping-off point for further study and includes a list of places to visit. --Alex Lawrence

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