The art of Jingtailan (Cloisonn¨¦) is
a unique combination of sculpture, painting, porcelain making and
copper-smithing that is said to have originated in Beijing during the Yuan
Dynasty (1271-1368). The oldest extant piece was made during the Yuan Dynasty,
but Jingtailan underwent a major change during the Ming Dynasty when at about
1450 to 1456, a new blue pigment was discovered and gave Jingtailan its current
name based on the Chinese word lan for blue. Ming Dynasty Jingtailan is also
considered to be the most intricate. Nevertheless, Jingtailan reached its peak
during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) due to great innovations in copper-melting
At present, Jingtailan is classified
into two categories: Jingtailan and Flower-strip Jingtailan, each of which has
several sub-varieties respectively.
The making of Jingtailan requires rather
elaborate and complicated processes; base-hammering, copper-strip inlay,
soldering, enamel-filling, enamel-firing, polishing and gilding. The products
are featured by excellent quality. The skill and workmanship have been handed
down from the Ming Dynasty. Since the founding of new China, quite a number of
new varieties have been created. It enjoys a high reputation both at home and
abroad with most of its products for export.
All the products are beautiful and elegant
in molding, brilliant and dazzling in colors and splendid and graceful in
design. It is a famous local handicraft in Beijing region.
Jingtailan can be found on large objects
such as vases and other large utensils and decorative items, as well as small
items like earrings, bracelets, chopsticks or jars.