Sunday, December 21, 2014

Puzzling Evidence - 1980s Brochure About JINGFA 京 珐 Brand Cloisonne Beijing Enamel Factory 北京珐琅厂

Presumably this was printed sometime after 1981, as it features an award won in that year.
Thought it might be useful for those trying to discover what varieties of cloisonne were made in the 1980s. 
Plus, a fascinating video of the Beijing Enamel Factory showing just how difficult it is to create cloisonne enamel: (Skip to 3:00 to avoid the puppet stuff intro)

Check out the differences in the staff clothing, work areas, and technology between the 1980s brochure and the 2013 video.


  1. Also with clouds, I have a vase with the same style as the dragon 6801-61201, could they be by the artist as well?

  2. Y'know, I've been wondering about this particular dragon - is it a design by Jin Shiquan? He was an older artist employed by the Beijing Enamel Factory, who had apprenticed at the Lao Tian Li workshop in 1922 when he was 11 years old. When the Japanese invaded Beijing in 1937, he fled back to his home village, and was unable to work in cloisonne until the government revitalized the craft in the mid-1950s. He is credited with inventing a more efficient process for creating the tiny clouds and similar background motifs, as well as a "better" dragon design based upon his researches at the Palace Museum. This genial dragon shows ups again and again in JingFa pieces, always with the distinctive little clouds, and now seems to have become part of the iconography of pieces produced right up to today. Perhaps I should do a blog post showing more examples...

  3. Hello. Very interesting article, interested in your opinion, they still set the clouds and painted by hand on all products or only on exclusive? It's a very time consuming process.

  4. The Beijing Enamel Company apparently went bankrupt and was re-organized in 2002, and many employees were laid off. According to recent Chinese videos, their focus now seems to be on Ming and Qing reproductions, which of course do not feature the distinctive JingFa clouds. []
    I notice in these recent videos and Chinese blog posts that the technicians are nearly all women, and in some cases, deaf people. People who will work more cheaply, in other words. Which makes me think that the tedious task of applying the background clouds is still done by hand, as well as filling in the enamel colors, even for the less expensive pieces. The really economical pieces are stamped out in a champleve process, but these of course look very different from actual wired cloisonne.

    1. Here's an article from January 2015 about Chinese cloisonne studios, including a brief history and current problems with recruiting staff.

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