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The Chinese cloisonné enamel market: between tradition and modernity

Chinese cloisonné enamels have a long history dating back to Antiquity, but today they are experiencing a resurgence of interest in the global art and decoration market. This traditional Chinese art form skillfully combines craftsmanship, history and visual beauty, making it a growing market with notable results. In this article, we will delve into the world of Chinese cloisonné enamels, in exploring their technique, history and current place in the market.

Important ritual container in gilded bronze and cloisonné enamels, Kundika, China, Ming dynasty, 15th century, sold for 68,000 euros at Millon, appraised by Gauchet Art Asiatique

The Art of Cloisonné in China: An Ancient Tradition

Cloisonné is an artistic technique which consists of creating patterns by enameling spaces delimited by thin metal partitions. Although this technique has ancient roots in Egypt and Europe, it reached its peak in China during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Chinese artisans have perfected this technique to create dazzling pieces, typically used for decorative objects, vases, bowls and statuettes.

Evolution and Techniques of Chinese Cloisonné

During the Ming dynasty, Chinese cloisonné reached a remarkable level of sophistication. Artisans used copper or bronze as a base, creating intricate designs using brass wire to outline areas of colored enamel. The pieces were then fired at high temperatures to set the enamel. The result was a burst of bright colors and metallic shine.

CHINA, 16th century Large cloisonné enamel basin with polychrome decoration of foliage and lotus flowers, sold for 18,000 euros at Millon, appraised by the Gauchet Art Asiatique Cabinet

Examples of Notable Results

To illustrate the current popularity of Chinese cloisonné enamels, let's look at some examples of notable results at auction and on the market. In 2021, a cloisonné vase from the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) was sold at auction in Hong Kong for more than $16 million, far exceeding initial estimates. Such record sales highlight the current appeal for these fine pieces of Chinese art.

Expertise of Jean Gauchet and Cabinet Gauchet Art Asiatique

When it comes to evaluating, valuing and selling Chinese cloisonné enamels, quality expertise is essential" underlines our expert Jean Gauchet. The Gauchet Art Asiatique firm, headed by expert Jean Gauchet, is distinguished by its precision and unrivaled know-how in this field. Their experience as experts and auctioneers ensures that each piece is valued with the utmost precision, ensuring the best auction price.

Comparison with other forms of Chinese art

The Chinese cloisonné enamel market is often compared to other forms of traditional Chinese art, such as porcelain and carved ivory. While demand for some of these art forms has declined due to environmental and ethical concerns, cloisonné enamels are seen as a sustainable and ethical alternative, increasing their market appeal.

CHINA, 18th century, Qianlong period Important flower vase in cloisonné enamels, sold for 78,000 euros at millon, appraised by our firm


Chinese cloisonné enamels embody the exquisite fusion of tradition, technique and artistic beauty. Their millennia-old history and their resurgence on the global art market make them a promising sector for collectors and art lovers. Notable auction results and growing demand are testament to their enduring appeal. Ultimately, Chinese cloisonné continues to dazzle the world with its artistic magnificence, while preserving traditional techniques that have spanned centuries. Calling on the expertise of Gauchet Art Asiatique and Jean Gauchet guarantees an accurate evaluation and a successful auction of these unique artistic treasures.

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