Antique Cloisonne Enamel Bowls


2015-06-26 11:15:46


Antique Cloisonne Enamel Bowls are decorative metal bowls.

History and Description

Cloisonne bowls are made using the ancient technique of cloisonne, which is a method of decorating metal objects. Originally, inlaid metal pieces of differing colours were used, along with gems and glass, but more recently, vitreous enamel has been used.

The colours obtained have a jewel-like quality. Enamelled cloisonne objects must be fired in a kiln.

The word cloisonne is taken from the French cloison, meaning 'compartments. This is due to the first stage of decoration, which involves soldering gold or silver wire to the piece, in order to create "compartments, which will then be filled with the decorative material of choice.

The 'compartments' remain visible when the decoration is completed, and form an integral part of the design.

Guide For Collectors

The majority of cloisonne pieces on the market are of Asian origin. Genuine antiques from this source are of a very high standard of craftsmanship, because they were reserved for use at court, or in the temple. However, it is important to verify that they are genuinely antique.

Cloisonne pieces which are unusually heavy suggest that resin has been used to mould the design, which indicates that the piece is not genuine.
Air bubbles are another indication that resin moulding has been used. On carved pieces, look for knife nicks in the metal, which indicate authenticity.

Corroded metal or bronze can be a sign of using chemicals to distress and artificially age the item. Be suspicious if a cloisonne item is offered for sale dirty. Cloisonne is easy to clean, and unscrupulous sellers can use dirt to hide the fact that the item is fake.


A Chinese antique cloisonne bowl was sold by S & J Auctions for $225 in April 2011

An antique Chinese cloisonne bowl was sold for $500 by Clouds Overseas Auction Co. Ltd, in April 2005.

An antique cloisonne rose bowl with geometrical patterns was sold by Grand View Antiques and Auction in March 2008 for $65.

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