This Chinese vintage shippo-yaki or cloisonne floral teapot of unknown date and age is a gorgeous piece. We think it probably is a turn of the century piece, but could be newer. Shippo is the word in Japanese for cloisonne, and my friends from Japan also use it on Chinese items, although the word in Chinese appears to be Jǐngtàilán written 景泰蓝. I think it is ok that we use the word shippo or 七宝 here as mentioned before. This ground glass cloissonne decorated teapot is covered in fine designs and colors. Pink flowers probably cherry blossoms and green leaves cover all the sides. The colors in the lid are even fine, in a bright red which look like hearts, green, black and blue. It is in very good condition with no damages or repairs, it does have some minor surface wear. The inside rim of the lid has some minor bends to it. It is unusual to get to find a cloisonne teapot, and while we do not see that many Chinese pieces, probably more unusual to see the Chinese cloisonne teapot at least for us. It holds water just fine and is fine as a decorative or piece to be used. Either way it is a beautiful piece.
SIZE: Width 4.9 inches or 12.44 cm, Length 2.6 inches or 6.60 cm, Height 2.9 inches or 7.36 cm
Shippo Yaki, the Japanese words for cloisonne, is well known abroad as an outstanding example of Japanese traditional art crafts. In Japan, its origin can be traced back to the Nara Era or A.D.646-794. Modern Japanese cloisonne started to be remarkably developed in the middle part of 19th century, when Dojin Hirata and Tsunekichi Kaji succeeded in making a small container of cloisonne after experimenting for many years. Later, Kaji's pupils were instrumental in elevating the cloisonne techniques to the higher standard as we observe today. Japanese cloisonne products are highly appreciated by non-Japanese as well as by Japanese for their matchless gorgeous colors and refined taste.
From the previous website I.D. Cloisonne, the Important Japanese period 1880-1920
By 1880 and after, export demands exploded. China's cloisonne production increased significantly for the European and American markets. Quality suffered, due to the mass produced, sloppy workmanship of these decorative and utilitarian items. Motifs became more mundane and repetitive, with much copied traditional subjects, and symbolic nature motifs. The market was flooded with smoking implements, decorative objects, figurines, and small dinnerware accessories.
For Japan, this period of 1880 to 1920 became the golden era of Japanese master cloisonne craftsmen. After participating in International Exhibitions, bringing to France, in 1867, their first cloisonne exhibits. With the years and their increased mastery, entitling them to prizes for their superb cloisonne items, Japan became the most sought-after exporter of cloisonne, replacing China. Pieces were designed and created over many months in the master's studios. Keeping the quality very high and the demand high as well.
The irony is that after Japanese cloisonne was internationally recognized and praised, creating a huge demand for more pieces for the middle classes, this triggered a huge production from Japan with much less refinement and shoddy workmanship. Eventually causing a backlash and the downfall of some of the more reputable makers. Demand for their exclusive and very pricey masterpieces declined with their studios closed by the 1920s. That's why there is, and was such a difference in price between Chinese and Japanese cloisonne produced during that short 40 year period. Even today, these Japanese masterpieces have values in the $20,000 to $50,000 dollar range or more.
While Chinese cloisonne remained traditional, staying with their tried and true motifs and renditions. Japan's cloisonne craftsmen created at least 9 new types of cloisonne between 1870 and 1910, applied to free-standing objects:
1. the black opaque and glossy wireless cloisonne background with fine cloison motifs 2. the translucent enamel over relief ground without cloison, often red 3. the stippled foreground with clear graduated enamels and applied cloison motifs 4. the brocades and motifs using goldstone enamels 5. the moriage cloisonne with heavier relief enamel applied motifs on smooth wireless ground 6. the elevated cloisonne with relief cloison motifs applied to a translucent wireless ground 7. the cloisonne applied to ceramic bodies 8. the graduated opaque wireless cloisonne motifs 9. the plique-a-jour cloisonne 10. and various combinations of the above.
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