Chinoiserie (English: /ʃɪnˈwɑːzəri/, French: [ʃinwazʁi]; loanword from French chinoiserie, from chinois, "Chinese") is the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions, especially in the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature, theatre, and music.[1] The aesthetic of Chinoiserie has been expressed in different ways depending on the region. Its acknowledgement derives from the current of Orientalism, which studied Far East cultures from a historical, philological, anthropological, philosophical and religious point of view. First appearing in the 17th century, this trend was popularized in the 18th century due to the rise in trade with China and East Asia.[2]

As a style, chinoiserie is related to the Rococo style.[3] Both styles are characterized by exuberant decoration, asymmetry, a focus on materials, and stylized nature and subject matter that focuses on leisure and pleasure. Chinoiserie focuses on subjects that were thought by colonial-era Europeans to be typical of Chinese culture.

Museo delle porcellane di Firenze, porcellane viennesi a cineserie, 1799, 02
A Vienna porcelain jug, 1799, decorated to imitate another rare Chinese product, lacquerware


Le Jardin chinois (detail) by François Boucher
The Chinese Garden, a chinoiserie painting by François Boucher

Chinoiserie entered European art and decoration in the mid-to-late 17th century; the work of Athanasius Kircher influenced the study of orientalism. The popularity of chinoiserie peaked around the middle of the 18th century when it was associated with the rococo style and with works by François Boucher, Thomas Chippendale, and Jean-Baptist Pillement. It was also popularized by the influx of Chinese and Indian goods brought annually to Europe aboard English, Dutch, French, and Swedish East India Companies.Though chinoiserie never fully went out of fashion, it declined in Europe by the 1760s when the neoclassical style gained popularity, though remained popular in the newly formed United States through the early 19th century. There was a revival of popularity for chinoiserie in Europe and the United States from the mid-19th century through the 1920s, and today in elite interior design and fashion.

Though usually understood as a European style, chinoiserie was a global phenomenon. Local versions of chinoiserie were developed in India, Japan, Persia, and particularly Latin America. Through the Manila Galleon Trade, Spanish traders brought large amounts of Chinese porcelain, lacquer, textiles, and spices from Chinese merchants based in Manila to New Spanish markets in Acapulco, Panama, and Lima. Those products then inspired local artists and artisans such as ceramicists making Talavera pottery at Puebla de Los Angeles.[4]


There were many reasons why chinoiserie gained such popularity in Europe in the 18th century. Europeans had a fascination with the exotic East due to their increased, but still restricted, access to new cultures through expanded trade with East Asia, especially China. The limited number of European first-hand experiences of East Asia and their restricted circulation created a level of mystification and misinformation that contributed to the mystification of East Asian cultures. The 'China' indicated in the term 'Chinoiserie' represented in European people's mind a wider region of the globe that could embrace China itself, but also Japan, Korea, South-East Asia, India or even Persia. In art, the style of the Orient was considered a source of inspiration; the atmosphere rich in images and the harmonic designs of the oriental style reflected the picture of an ideal world, from which to draw ideas in order to reshape one own's culture. For this reason the style of Chinoiserie is to be regarded as an important result of the exchange between the West and the East. During the 19th century, and especially in its latter period, the style of Chinoiserie was assimilated under the generic definition of exoticism.[5] Even though the root of the word 'Chinoiserie' is 'Chine' (China), the Europeans of the 17th and 18th centuries didn't have a clear conceptualization of how China was in reality. Often terms like 'Orient', 'Far East' or 'China' were all equally used to signify the region of Eastern Asia that had proper Chinese culture as a major representative, but the meaning of the term could change according to different contexts. Sir William Chambers for example, in his oeuvre A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening of 1772, generically addresses China as the 'Orient'.[5] In the financial records of Louis XIV during the 17th and 18th centuries were already registered expressions like 'façon de la Chine', Chinese manner, or 'à la chinoise', made in the Chinese way. In the 19th century the term 'Chinoiserie' appeared for the first time in French literature. In the novel L'Interdiction published in 1836, Honoré de Balzac used Chinoiserie to refer to the craftworks made in the Chinese style. From this moment on the term gained momentum and started being used more frequently to mean objects produced in the Chinese style but sometimes also to indicate graceful objects of small dimension or of scarce account. In 1878 'Chinoiserie' entered formally in the Dictionnaire de l'Académie.[5]

After the spread of Marco Polo's narrations, the knowledge of China held by the Europeans continued to derive essentially from reports made by merchants and diplomatic envoys. Dating from the latter half of the 17th century a relevant role in this exchange of information was then taken up by the Jesuits, whose continual gathering of missionary intelligence and language transcription gave the European public a new deeper insight of the Chinese empire and its culture.[6]

While Europeans frequently held inaccurate ideas about East Asia, this did not necessarily preclude their fascination and respect. In particular, the Chinese who had "exquisitely finished art... [and] whose court ceremonial was even more elaborate than that of Versailles" were viewed as highly civilized.[7] According to Voltaire in his Art de la Chine, "The fact remains that four thousand years ago, when we did not know how to read, they [the Chinese] knew everything essentially useful of which we boast today."[8] In other words, somewhere, on the other side of the world, there existed a culture so rich that it rivaled the civilizations of Rome and Greece. Chinoiserie created a juxtaposition between something new and exotic for Europeans while at the same time reflecting the values of the 4,000 year old culture from which these objects came.

Chinoiserie was not universally popular. Some critics saw the style as "…a retreat from reason and taste and a descent into a morally ambiguous world based on hedonism, sensation and values perceived to be feminine."[2] It was viewed as lacking the logic and reason upon which Antique art had been founded. Architect and author Robert Morris claimed that it "…consisted of mere whims and chimera, without rules or order, it requires no fertility of genius to put into execution."[2] Those with a more archaeological view of the East, considered the chinoiserie style, with its distortions and whimsical approach, to be a mockery of the actual Chinese art and architecture.[2] Finally, still others believed that an interest in chinoiserie indicated a pervading "cultural confusion" in European society.[9]

Persistence after the 18th century

Rex Whistler - Wallpaper in the Chinoiserie Style, with a Picture Frame as its Central Motif 1932
Wallpaper in the chinoiserie style, with a picture frame as its central motif, Rex Whistler

Chinoiserie persisted into the 19th and 20th centuries but declined in popularity. There was a notable loss of interest in Chinese-inspired décor after the death in 1830 of King George IV, a great proponent of the style. The First Opium War of 1839–1842 between Britain and China disrupted trade and caused a further decline of interest in the Oriental.[10] China closed its doors to exports and imports and for many people chinoiserie became a fashion of the past.

As British-Chinese relations stabilized towards the end of the 19th century, there was a revival of interest in chinoiserie. Prince Albert, for example, reallocated many chinoiserie works from George IV's Royal Pavilion at Brighton to the more accessible Buckingham Palace. Chinoiserie served to remind Britain of its former colonial glory that was rapidly fading with the modern era.[2]

Chinese porcelain

A Medici porcelain bottle held in the Louvre Museum, Paris. The Casino of San Marco's porcelain manufactory was one of the oldest successful attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain in European history.[11]

From the Renaissance to the 18th century Western designers attempted to imitate the technical sophistication of Chinese export porcelain (and for that matter Japanese export porcelain - Europeans were generally vague as the origin of "oriental" imports), with only partial success. One of the earliest successful attempts, for instance, was the Medici porcelain manufactured in Florence during the late-16th century, as the Casino of San Marco remained open from 1575–1587.[11] Despite never being commercial in nature, the next major attempt to replicate Chinese porcelain was the soft-paste manufactory at Rouen in 1673, with Edme Poterat, widely reputed as creator of the French soft-paste pottery tradition, opening his own factory in 1647.[12] Efforts were eventually made to imitate hard-paste porcelain, which were held in high regard. As such, the direct imitation of Chinese designs in faience began in the late 17th century, was carried into European porcelain production, most naturally in tea wares, and peaked in the wave of rococo chinoiserie (c. 1740–1770).

Earliest hints of chinoiserie appear in the early 17th century, in the arts of the nations with active East India Companies, Holland and England, then by the mid-17th century, in Portugal as well. Tin-glazed pottery (see delftware) made at Delft and other Dutch towns adopted genuine blue-and-white Ming decoration from the early 17th century. After a book by Johan Nieuhof was published the 150 pictures encouraged chinoiserie, and became especially popular in the 18th century. Early ceramic wares in Meissen porcelain and other factories naturally imitated Chinese designs, though the shapes for "useful wares", table and tea wares, typically remained Western, often based on shapes in silver. Decorative wares such as vases followed Chinese shapes.


The ideas of the decorative and pictorial arts of the East permeated the European and American arts and craft scene. For example, in the United States, "by the mid-18th century, Charleston had imported an impressive array of Asian export luxury goods [such as]...paintings."[13] The aspects of Chinese painting that were integrated into European and American visual arts include asymmetrical compositions, lighthearted subject matter and a general sense of capriciousness.

William Alexander (1767–1816), a British painter, illustrator and engraver who traveled to the East Asia and China in the 18th century, was directly influenced by the culture and landscape he saw in the East.[14] He presented an idealized, romanticized depiction of Chinese culture, but he was influenced by "pre-established visual signs."[14] While the Chinoiserie landscapes that Alexander depicted accurately reflected the landscape of China, "paradoxically, it is this imitation and repetition of the iconic signs of China that negate the very possibility of authenticity, and render them into stereotypes."[14] The depiction of China and East Asia in European and American painting was dependent on the understanding of the East by Western preconceptions, rather than representations of Eastern culture as it actually was.

Interior design

Albert von Keller 001
Depiction of a Chinese folding screen as interior decoration in the oil painting Chopin (1873) by Albert von Keller.
Painted wallcovering canvas, Geelvinck-Hinlopen Huis

Various European monarchs, such as Louis XV of France, gave special favor to chinoiserie, as it blended well with the rococo style. Entire rooms, such as those at Château de Chantilly, were painted with chinoiserie compositions, and artists such as Antoine Watteau and others brought expert craftsmanship to the style.[15] Central European palaces like the Castle of Wörlitz or the Castle of Pillnitz all include rooms decorated with Chinese features, while in the palace of Sanssouci at Potsdam features a Dragon House (Das Drachenhaus) and the Chinese House (Das Chinesische Haus).[16] Pleasure pavilions in "Chinese taste" appeared in the formal parterres of late Baroque and Rococo German and Russian palaces, and in tile panels at Aranjuez near Madrid. Chinese Villages were built in the mountainous park of Wilhelmshöhe near Kassel, Germany; in Drottningholm, Sweden and Tsarskoe Selo, Russia. Thomas Chippendale's mahogany tea tables and china cabinets, especially, were embellished with fretwork glazing and railings, c. 1753–70, but sober homages to early Qing scholars' furnishings were also naturalized, as the tang evolved into a mid-Georgian side table and squared slat-back armchairs suited English gentlemen as well as Chinese scholars. Not every adaptation of Chinese design principles falls within mainstream chinoiserie. Chinoiserie media included "japanned" ware imitations of lacquer and painted tin (tôle) ware that imitated japanning, early painted wallpapers in sheets, after engravings by Jean-Baptiste Pillement, and ceramic figurines and table ornaments.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Europeans began to manufacture furniture that imitated Chinese lacquer furniture.[17] It was frequently decorated with ebony and ivory or Chinese motifs such as pagodas. Thomas Chippendale helped to popularize the production of Chinoiserie furniture with the publication of his design book The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker's Director: Being a large Collection of the Most Elegant and Useful Designs of Household Furniture, In the Most Fashionable Taste. His designs provided a guide for intricate chinoiserie furniture and its decoration. His chairs and cabinets were often decorated with scenes of colorful birds, flowers, or images of exotic imaginary places. The compositions of this decoration were often asymmetrical.

The increased use of wallpaper in European homes in the 18th century also reflects the general fascination with Chinoiserie motifs. With the rise of the villa and a growing taste for sunlit interiors, the popularity of wallpaper grew. John Cornforth notes that previously the "light-absorbing textures of tapestry, velvet, and damask" were preferred, but now the general interest was in light-reflecting decoration. The demand for wallpaper created by Chinese artists began first with European aristocrats between 1740 and 1790.[18] The luxurious wallpaper available to them would have been unique, handmade, and expensive.[18] Later wallpaper with chinoiserie motifs became accessible to the middle class when it could be printed and thus produced in a range of grades and prices.[19]

The patterns on Chinoiserie wallpaper are similar to the pagodas, floral designs, and exotic imaginary scenes found on chinoiserie furniture and porcelain. Like chinoiserie furniture and other decorative art forms, chinoiserie wallpaper was typically placed in bedrooms, closets, and other private rooms of a house. The patterns on wallpaper were expected to complement the decorative objects and furniture in a room, creating a complementary backdrop.

Architecture and gardens

European understanding of Chinese and East Asian garden design is exemplified by the use of the word Sharawadgi, understood as beauty, without order that takes the form of an aesthetically pleasing irregularity in landscape design. The word traveled together with imported lacquer ware from Japan where shara'aji was an idiom in appraisal of design in decorative arts.[20] Sir William Temple (1628–1699), referring to such artwork, introduces the term sharawadgi in his essay Upon the Gardens of Epicurus written in 1685 and published in 1690.[21] Under Temple's influence European gardeners and landscape designers used the concept of sharawadgi to create gardens that were believed to reflect the asymmetry and naturalism present in the gardens of the East.

These gardens often contain various fragrant plants, flowers and trees, decorative rocks, ponds or lake with fish, and twisting pathways. They are frequently enclosed by a wall. Architectural features placed in these gardens often include pagodas, ceremonial halls used for celebrations or holidays, pavilions with flowers and seasonal elements.[22]

Landscapes such as London's Kew Gardens show distinct Chinese influence in architecture. A monumental 163-foot pagoda in the center of the garden designed and built by William Chambers exhibits strong English architectural elements, resulting in a product of combined cultures (Bald, 290). A replica of it was built in Munich's Englischer Garten, while the Chinese Garden of Oranienbaum include another pagoda and also a Chinese teahouse. Though the rise of a more serious approach in Neoclassicism from the 1770s onward tended to replace Oriental inspired designs, at the height of Regency "Grecian" furnishings, the Prince Regent came down with a case of Brighton Pavilion, and Chamberlain's Worcester china manufactory imitated "Imari" wares. While classical styles reigned in the parade rooms, upscale houses, from Badminton House (where the "Chinese Bedroom" was furnished by William and John Linnell, ca 1754) and Nostell Priory to Casa Loma in Toronto, sometimes featured an entire guest room decorated in the chinoiserie style, complete with Chinese-styled bed, phoenix-themed wallpaper, and china. Later exoticisms added imaginary Turkish themes, where a "diwan" became a sofa.


One of the things that contributed to the popularity of chinoiserie was the 18th-century vogue for tea drinking.[23] The feminine and domestic culture of drinking tea required an appropriate chinoiserie mise en scène. According to Beevers, "Tea drinking was a fundamental part of polite society; much of the interest in both Chinese export wares and chinoiserie rose from the desire to create appropriate settings for the ritual of tea drinking."[2] After 1750, England was importing 10,000,000 pounds of tea annually, demonstrating how widespread this practice was.[24] The taste for chinoiserie porcelain, both export wares and European imitations, and tea drinking was more associated with women than men. A number of aristocratic and socially important women were famous collectors of chinoiserie porcelain, among them Queen Mary, Queen Anne, Henrietta Howard, and the Duchess of Queensbury, all socially important women. This is significant because their homes served as examples of good taste and sociability.[25] A single historical incident in which there was a "keen competition between Margaret, 2nd Duchess of Portland, and Elizabeth, Countess of Ilchester, for a Japanese blue and white plate,"[26] shows how wealthy female consumers asserted their purchasing power and their need to play a role in creating the prevailing vogue.

Literary criticism

The term is also used in literary criticism to describe a mannered "Chinese-esque" style of writing, such as that employed by Ernest Bramah in his Kai Lung stories, Barry Hughart in his Master Li & Number Ten Ox novels and Stephen Marley in his Chia Black Dragon series.[27]


The term is also used in the fashion industry to describe "designs in textiles, fashion, and the decorative arts that derive from Chinese styles".[28]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ "Chinois". The Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Beevers, David (2009). Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain, 1650–1930. Brighton: Royal Pavilion & Museums. p. 19. ISBN 0-948723-71-8.
  3. ^, Victoria and Albert Museum, Digital Media. "Style Guide: Chinoiserie". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ Carr, Dennis; Bailey, Gauvin A; Brook, Timothy; Codding, Mitchell; Corrigan, Karina; Pierce, Donna; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015-01-01). Made in the Americas: the new world discovers Asia. ISBN 978-0-87846-812-6.
  5. ^ a b c 張省卿 (Sheng-Ching Chang),《東方啓蒙西方 – 十八世紀德國沃里兹(Wörlitz)自然風景園林之中國元素(Dongfang qimeng Xifang- shiba shiji Deguo Wolizi (Wörlitz) ziran fengjing yuanlin zhi Zhongguo yuansu) 》 (The East enlightening the West – Chinese elements in the 18th century landscape gardens of Wörlitz in Germany), 台北 (Taipei):輔仁大學出版社(Furendaxue chubanshe; Fu Jen University Bookstore), 2015, pp. 37–44.
  6. ^ 張省卿 (Sheng-Ching Chang),《東方啓蒙西方 – 十八世紀德國沃里兹(Wörlitz)自然風景園林之中國元素(Dongfang qimeng Xifang- shiba shiji Deguo Wolizi (Wörlitz) ziran fengjing yuanlin zhi Zhongguo yuansu) 》 (The East enlightening the West – Chinese elements in the 18th century landscape gardens of Wörlitz in Germany), 台北 (Taipei):輔仁大學出版社(Furendaxue chubanshe; Fu Jen University Bookstore), 2015, pp. 42–44.
  7. ^ Mayor, A. Hyatt (1941). "Chinoiserie". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin.
  8. ^ Voltaire as qtd. in Lovejoy, Arthur. (1948) Essays in the History of Ideas (1948). Johns Hopkins U. Press. 1978 edition: ISBN 0-313-20504-3
  9. ^ Lee, Julia H. (2011). Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896–1937. New York: NYU Press. pp. 114–37. ISBN 0-8147-5257-8.
  10. ^ Gelber, Harry G (2004). Opium, Soldiers and Evangelicals: England's 1840–42 War with China and its Aftermath. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-0700-4.
  11. ^ a b "Medici porcelain". 2013-07-22. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  12. ^ Editors, The. "Rouen ware | pottery". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  13. ^ Leath, R. A.. (1999). "After the Chinese Taste": Chinese Export Porcelain and Chinoiserie Design in Eighteen-Century Charleston. Historical Archaeology, 33(3), 48–61.
  14. ^ a b c Sloboda, Stacey (2014). Chinoiserie: Commerce and Critical Ornament in Eighteenth-Century Britain. New York: Manchester UP. pp. 29, 33. ISBN 978-0-7190-8945-9.
  15. ^ Jan-Erik Nilsson. "chinoiserie". Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  16. ^ 張省卿 (Sheng-Ching Chang),《東方啓蒙西方 – 十八世紀德國沃里兹(Wörlitz)自然風景園林之中國元素(Dongfang qimeng Xifang- shiba shiji Deguo Wolizi (Wörlitz) ziran fengjing yuanlin zhi Zhongguo yuansu) 》 (The East enlightening the West – Chinese elements in the 18th century landscape gardens of Wörlitz in Germany), 台北 (Taipei):輔仁大學出版社(Furendaxue chubanshe; Fu Jen University Bookstore), 2015, pp. 44–45.
  17. ^ "V&A · The influence of East Asian lacquer on European furniture". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  18. ^ a b Entwistle, E. A. (1961). "Wallpaper and its History". Journal of the Royal Society of Arts: 450–456.
  19. ^ Vickery, Amanda (2009). Behind Closed Doors. New Haven, CT: Yale UP. p. 151. ISBN 0-300-16896-9.
  20. ^ Kuitert, Wybe (2014). "Japanese Art, Aesthetics, and a European Discourse: Unraveling Sharawadgi". Japan Review. 27: 78.Online as PDF
  21. ^ William Temple. "Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; or Of Gardening in the Year 1685." In Miscellanea, the Second Part, in Four Essays. Simpson, 1690
  22. ^ Zhou, Ruru (2015). "Chinese Gardens". China Highlights.
  23. ^ "Tea Tuesdays: How Tea + Sugar Reshaped The British Empire". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  24. ^ Fisher, Reka N. (1979). "English Tea Caddy". Bulletin (St. Louis Art Museum). 15.2: 174.
  25. ^ Porter, David L. (2002). "Monstrous Beauty: Eighteenth-Century Fashion and the Aesthetics of the Chinese Taste". American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. 53.3: 395–411. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  26. ^ Impey, Oliver (1989). "Eastern Trade and the Furnishing of the British Country House". Studies in the History of Art. Symposium Papers X: The Fashioning and Functioning of the British Country House. 25: 181.
  27. ^ Marley rejects the chinoiserie label in favour of his own term, "Chinese Gothic".
  28. ^ Calasibetta, Charlotte Mankey; Tortora, Phyllis (2010). The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion (PDF). New York: Fairchild Books. ISBN 978-1-56367-973-5. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  • Chang, Sheng-Ching (張省卿),《東方啓蒙西方 – 十八世紀德國沃里兹(Wörlitz)自然風景園林之中國元素(Dongfang qimeng Xifang – shiba shiji Deguo Wolizi (Wörlitz) ziran fengjing yuanlin zhi Zhongguo yuansu) 》 (The East enlightening the West – Chinese elements in the 18th century landscape gardens of Wörlitz in Germany), 台北 (Taipei):輔仁大學出版社 (Furendaxue chubanshe; Fu Jen University Bookstore), 2015.
  • Eerdmans, Emily (2006). "The International Court Style: William & Mary and Queen Anne: 1689–1714, The Call of the Orient". Classic English Design and Antiques: Period Styles and Furniture; The Hyde Park Antiques Collection. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. pp. 22–25. ISBN 978-0-8478-2863-0.
  • Honour, Hugh (1961). Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay. London: John Murray.

External links

An embassy from the East-India Company

An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces is a book written by Dutch author and explorer Johan Nieuhof. The full title of the English version of the book is An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, emperor of China: delivered by their excellencies Peter de Goyer and Jacob de Keyzer, at his imperial city of Peking wherein the cities, towns, villages, ports, rivers, &c. in their passages from Canton to Peking are ingeniously described by John Nieuhoff; Englished and set forth with their several sculptures by John Ogilby. The book served as a major influence in the rise of chinoiserie in the early eighteenth century.


Ba-ta-clan is a "chinoiserie musicale" (or operetta) in one act with music by Jacques Offenbach to an original French libretto by Ludovic Halévy. It was first performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, on 29 December 1855. The operetta uses set numbers and spoken dialogue and runs for under an hour.

Ba-ta-clan was Offenbach's first big success, and opened his new winter theatre, the Salle Choiseul. The witty piece satirised everything from contemporary politics to grand opera conventions.

It was frequently revived in Paris, London and New York for decades, and Offenbach eventually expanded it as a full-length piece with a cast of eleven. Offenbach's early operettas were small-scale one-act works, since the law in France limited the licence for musical theatre works (other than most operas) to one-act pieces with no more than three singers and, perhaps, some mute characters. In 1858, this law was changed, and Offenbach was able to offer full-length works, beginning with Orpheus in the Underworld.

In 1864, a music-hall called Bataclan opened in Paris, named after the operetta, and is still functioning today.

Bridge of Birds

Bridge of Birds is a fantasy novel by Barry Hughart, first published in 1984. It is the first of three novels in The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox series. The original draft of Bridge of Birds is included in a special slipcased version of the omnibus collection, The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, released by Subterranean Press in 2008.Hughart called the novel "a modern version of a classical form of Chinese novel, which was an underground Taoist form designed to fight back against Confucians. Confucians liked to castrate people who fought the establishment. Without mentioning names, the Taoists could use real emperors and real power structure in a fantasy form."

Chinese House (Potsdam)

The Chinese House (German: Chinesisches Haus) is a garden pavilion in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany. Frederick the Great had it built, about seven hundred metres southwest of the Sanssouci Summer Palace, to adorn his flower and vegetable garden. The garden architect was Johann Gottfried Büring, who between 1755 and 1764 designed the pavilion in the then-popular style of Chinoiserie, a mixture of ornamental rococo elements and parts of Chinese architecture.

The unusually long building time of nine years is attributed to the Seven Years' War, during which Prussia's economic and financial situation suffered significantly. Only after the end of the war in 1763 were the chambers inside the pavilion furnished. As the building served not only as a decorative piece of garden architecture but also as a setting for small social events, Frederick the Great ordered the building of a Chinese Kitchen, a few metres south-east of the Chinese House. After a conversion in 1789, only the hexagonal windows show the Oriental character of the former outbuilding. A few years later, the Dragon House was built in the form of a Chinese pagoda on the northern edge of Sanssouci Park bordering Klausberg. The building was Frederick the Great's attempt to follow the Chinese fashion of the 18th century, which began in France before spreading to England, Germany, and Russia.

Chinese Village (Tsarskoe Selo)

The Chinese Village in the Alexander Park of Tsarskoye Selo, Russia was Catherine the Great's attempt to follow the 18th-century fashion for the Chinoiserie.

Probably inspired by a similar project in Drottningholm, Catherine ordered Antonio Rinaldi and Charles Cameron to model the village after a contemporary Chinese engraving from her personal collection. The village was to consist of 18 stylized Chinese houses (only ten were completed), dominated by an octagonal domed observatory (never completed at all). After Catherine failed in her ambition to procure a genuine Chinese architect, the Russian ambassador in London was instructed to obtain a replica of William Chambers's pagoda in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for Tsarskoye Selo, a central structure of the Chinoiserie architecture.

Catherine's death in 1796 led to the works being suspended. It was not until 1818 that Alexander I of Russia asked Vasily Stasov to overhaul the village in order to provide accommodation for his guests. Although much of the original orientalizing decor was lost as a result, the renovated village provided habitation for such eminent visitors as Nikolai Karamzin who worked on his History of the Russian State in one of the houses between 1822 and 1825.

The Chinese Opera Theatre was constructed not far from the village in 1779. It was there that an Italian composer Giovanni Paisiello would present his new operas to the Russian empress. The première of Leo Tolstoy's The Fruits of Enlightenment was also produced there. The theatre was burnt to the ground on 15 September 1941 and has never been rebuilt.

Three remarkable bridges lead to the village. The Dragon Bridge, so named after four zinc figures of winged dragons, and the Large Chinese Bridge, noted for pink granite vases and imitation coral branches, were completed in 1785. The Cross-Shaped Bridge had been constructed by the Neyelov Brothers six years earlier (illustrated, to the right).

The village was renovated under the direction of Ippolit Monighetti in 1859-61. The cottages sustained serious damage during the Nazi occupation but were restored in the 1990s to provide lodgings for VIP guests.

Creaking Pagoda

The Creaking Pagoda between two ponds in the landscape park separating the Catherine Palace and Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Russia, is a folly that resulted from the 18th-century taste for Chinoiserie. It was designed by Georg von Veldten. Construction lasted from 1778 to 1786. The walls are decorated with figures of dragons and other stylized Chinese motifs. The name of the structure refers to a characteristic sound produced by a metal banner on the top when it is turned by the wind.

Dragon House

Dragon House (German Drachenhaus) is a historical building in Potsdam, Germany, built by King Frederick the Great of Prussia on the southern slope of the Klausberg, which borders the northern edge of Sanssouci Park. It was constructed between 1770 and 1772 in the prevailing Chinoiserie taste of the time, designed to imitate a Chinese pagoda. Carl von Gontard was commissioned to build it.

The Dragon House is named after the sixteen dragons on the corners of its concave roofs. Six years after the construction of the Chinese House in Sanssouci Park, Frederick's enthusiasm for Chinoiserie park structures was expressed once again with this creation.

Frederick the Great was stimulated to build in a Far Eastern style by Sir William Chambers's Designs of Chinese Buildings" (1757) and from his Plans, elevations, section and perspective views of the gardens and buildings at Kew" (1763). These architectural reference books were given to Frederick by the author, who had created for Augusta, Princess of Wales a large garden at Kew (near London), in which there still stands Chambers's many-tiered tapering pagoda, completed in 1762.

The Dragon House at Sanssouci was built on an octagonal plan, with four floors not only to be decorative, but also as living quarters for the wine-growers who worked on the neighbouring Weinberg. However, they did not move into the pagoda. To save the pagoda from its dilapidated state, it had to be restored in 1787. Ever since then it has been constantly inhabited by the overseer of the Belvedere on the Klausberg. Over the years, because of its inhabitation, an additional room, a laundry and three stables have extended the two rooms—a kitchen and an entrance hall—of the structure. The Dragon House has been used since 1934 in a gastronomical capacity.

Gunston Hall

Gunston Hall is an 18th-century Georgian mansion near the Potomac River in Mason Neck, Virginia, USA. The house was the home of the United States Founding Father George Mason. It was located at the center of a 5,500 acre (22 km²) plantation.The home is also located not far from George Washington's home. The construction period of Gunston Hall was between 1755 and 1759.The interior of the house and its design was mostly the work of William Buckland, a carpenter/joiner and indentured servant from England. Buckland later went on to design several notable buildings in Virginia and Maryland. Both he and William Bernard Sears, another indentured servant, are believed to have created the ornate woodwork and interior carving. Gunston's interior design combines elements of rococo, chinoiserie, and Gothic styles, an unusual contrast to the tendency for simple decoration in Virginia at this time. Although chinoiserie was popular in Britain, Gunston Hall is the only house known to have had this decoration in colonial America.In 1792, Thomas Jefferson went to Gunston Hall to attend George Mason's death bed;

after his death later that year, the house remained in use as a private residence for many years. In 1868, it was purchased by noted abolitionist and civil war Colonel Edward Daniels. It is now a museum owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and open to the public. The home and grounds were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 for their association with Mason.

Hugh Honour

Hugh Honour FRSL (26 September 1927 – 19 May 2016) was a British art historian, known for his writing partnership with John Fleming. Their A World History of Art (a.k.a. The Visual Arts: A History), is now in its seventh edition and Honour's Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay (1961) first set the phenomenon of chinoiserie in its European cultural context.

Jacques Vigouroux Duplessis

Jacques Vigouroux Duplessis, also Jacques Vigoureux-Duplessis (c.1680–1732) was a French painter. He was active from 1699 to 1730, and is mainly known for his Rococo Chinoiserie or Orientalist paintings, and decorative objects and scenes.In 1721 he became an instructor at the Royal Tapestry Manufacture in Beauvais, a post he held until 1726.

Jean-Baptiste Pillement

Jean-Baptiste Pillement (24 May 1728 – 26 April 1808) was a painter and designer, known for his exquisite and delicate landscapes, but whose importance lies primarily in the engravings done after his drawings, and their influence in spreading the Rococo style and particularly the taste for chinoiserie throughout Europe.

Jumeirah Carlton Tower

The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a hotel in London, England. Owned and managed by the Emirati firm Jumeirah, it is located on Cadogan Place next to Sloane Street and close to Harrods, Harvey Nichols and central Knightsbridge. There are three restaurants and bars which include The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant, and Chinoiserie.

Palazzina Cinese

The Chinese Palace (Italian: Palazzina Cinese), also known as Real Casina alla Cinese, is a former royal residence of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies designed in the style of Chinoiserie. It is located in Palermo, inside the park of La Favorita. The Ethnographic Museum of Sicily, named after Giuseppe Pitrè, is located in one of the Palace's guesthouse.

Porcelain boudoir of Maria Amalia of Saxony

The Porcelain boudoir of Maria Amalia of Saxony is a rococo interior now located in the Palace of Capodimonte in Naples. It was originally made for the Palace of Portici in 1757–59, but has now been moved to the Capodimonte Palace.It is named after Maria Amalia of Saxony, queen of Naples. It consists of white porcelain panels decorated in high relief with festoons and genre scenes, drawing on the Chinoiserie popular at the time. It was designed by Giuseppe Gricci (c. 1700–1770) and produced in the Royal Porcelain Factory of Capodimonte, founded by Maria Amalia and her husband Charles of Bourbon in 1743.

After Charles became Carlos III of Spain and moved the Capodimonte factory to Madrid as the Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro, similar rooms were made for the Palace of Aranjuez (also chinoiserie), and the Palacio Real, Madrid, this time in a Neoclassical style.

Restoration style

Restoration style, also known as Carolean style (from the Latin Carolus (Charles), refers to the decorative arts popular in England from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the late 1680s after Charles II (reigned 1660–1685).

The return of the king and his court from exile on the Continent led to the replacement of the Puritan severity of the Cromwellian style with a taste for magnificence and opulence and to the introduction of Dutch and French artistic influences. These are evident in furniture in the use of floral marquetry, walnut instead of oak, twisted turned supports and legs, exotic veneers, cane seats and backs on chairs, sumptuous tapestry and velvet upholstery and ornate carved and gilded scrolling bases for cabinets.

Restoration silver is characterized by embossed motifs for tulips and naturalistic fruit and leaves. New types of furniture introduced in this period include cabinets on stands, chests of drawers, armchairs and wing chairs and day beds.

The growing power of English East India Company resulted in increased imports of exotic commodities from China and Japan, including tea, porcelain and lacquer, and chintzes from India. This led to a craze for chinoiserie, reflected on the development of imitation lacquer (Japanning), blue and white decoration on ceramics, flat-chased scenes of Chinese-style figures and landscapes on silver and new forms of silver as teapots, as well as colourful Indian-style crewelwork bed-hangings and curtains.

Other developments in the Restoration period were the emergence of the English glass industry, following the invention of lead glass by George Ravenscroft around 1676, and the manufacture of slipware by Thomas Toft.

After the accession of William III and Mary II in 1689, Restoration style was superseded by William and Mary style.

Thomas Minton

Thomas Minton (1765 – 1836) was an English potter. He founded Thomas Minton & Sons in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, which grew into a major ceramic manufacturing company with an international reputation.

During the early 1780s Thomas Minton was an apprentice engraver at the Caughley Pottery Works in Shropshire, under the proprietorship of Thomas Turner, working on copperplate engravings for the production of transferware. The engraver Thomas Lucas went from there to work for Josiah Spode at Stoke-on-Trent in 1783, taking some elements of the fashionable chinoiserie patterns with him. While at Caughley Thomas Minton is thought to have worked on chinoiserie landscape patterns including willows, and to have prepared copperplates of them: but the Salopian works never produced the standard willow pattern which includes the bridge and the fence in the foreground.Minton left the Salopian works in 1785, and married Sarah in London in 1789. In 1793 he established his own pottery factory in Stoke-upon-Trent principally for the manufacture of white-glazed earthen tablewares or pearlware including blue transfer printed and painted wares. Variations of his willow and other designs were acquired by Spode and other factories, and it was in this context that the English willow pattern was created. He was favoured and employed by Josiah Spode, for whom he engraved a new version of the pattern. To Minton is also attributed the popular 'Buffalo' pattern engraved for Spode. He was assisted by Henry Doncaster of Penkhull: his pupil William Greatbatch (father of William Greatbatch (1802-1885), another notable engraver) became chief engraver for Spode and for the successor company, Copeland's.In c. 1796 Minton went into partnership with Joseph Poulson, who produced ornamental bone china at a factory nearby, and from c.1798 Minton employed Poulson's factory for his own china wares. After Poulson's death in 1808 he continued china production there until 1816. In 1824 he built a new factory for china, on the basis of which the company of 'Thomas Minton and Sons', known more simply as 'Mintons', was developed. At his death in 1836 his son Herbert Minton (1793-1858) continued and redeveloped the business.

His portrait was made by James Northcote, R.A..

Vauxhall Gardens

Vauxhall Gardens was a pleasure garden in Kennington on the south bank of the River Thames and accessed by boat from London until the erection of Vauxhall Bridge in the 1810s. The wider area was absorbed into the metropolis as the city expanded in the early to mid-19th century.

It was one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century. Originally known as 'New Spring Gardens', the site is believed to have opened before the Restoration of 1660, the first known mention being made by Samuel Pepys in 1662. The Gardens consisted of several acres of trees and shrubs with attractive walks. Initially entrance was free, with food and drink being sold to support the venture.

The site became Vauxhall Gardens in 1785 and admission was charged for its many attractions. The Gardens drew all manner of people and supported enormous crowds, with its paths being noted for romantic assignations. Tightrope walkers, hot-air balloon ascents, concerts and fireworks provided entertainment. The rococo "Turkish tent" became one of the Gardens' structures, the interior of the Rotunda became one of Vauxhall's most viewed attractions, and the chinoiserie style was a feature of several buildings. A statue depicting George Frideric Handel, erected in the Gardens, later found its way to Westminster Abbey. In 1817 the Battle of Waterloo was re-enacted, with 1,000 soldiers participating.

It closed in 1840 after its owners suffered bankruptcy, but re-opened in 1841. It changed hands in 1842, and was permanently closed in 1859. The land was redeveloped in the following decades, but slum clearance in the late 20th century saw part of the original site opened up as a public park. This was initially called Spring Gardens and renamed in 2012 as Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. It is managed as a public park by the London Borough of Lambeth. Vauxhall Gardens is depicted in a tile motif at Vauxhall tube station, done in about 1971 by George Smith.

Willow pattern

The Willow pattern is a distinctive and elaborate chinoiserie pattern used on ceramic kitchen/housewares. It became popular at the end of the 18th century in England when, in its standard form, it was developed by English ceramic artists combining and adapting motifs inspired by fashionable hand-painted blue-and-white wares imported from China. Its creation occurred at a time when mass-production of decorative tableware, at Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere, was already making use of engraved and printed glaze transfers, rather than hand-painting, for the application of ornament to standardized vessels (transfer ware).

Many different Chinese-inspired landscape patterns were at first produced in this way, both on bone china or porcellanous wares, and on white earthenware or pearlware. The Willow pattern became the most popular and persistent of them, and in various permutations has remained in production to the present day. Characteristically the background colour is white and the image blue, but various factories have used other colours in monochrome tints and there are Victorian versions with hand-touched polychrome colouring on simple outline transfers.

In the United States of America, the pattern is commonly referred to as Blue Willow.

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