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Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Biombo  

Sofía Sanabrais

Name used in Mexico and throughout Latin America for a folding screen. The word biombo is a transliteration of the Japanese word for folding screen—byōbu—an acknowledgement of its place of origin. The Japanese byōbu has long been a quintessential example of Japanese art and was a common diplomatic gift to foreign courts in the early modern period (see Screen, §1). Referred to as the ‘face of Japanese diplomacy’, byōbu were presented as ambassadors of Japanese culture to places as far off as London and Mexico City. Byōbu also found their way to New Spain as exports in the Manila Galleon trade. In 17th-century Mexico the Japanese screen was admired by artists and patrons, and was adapted and reinterpreted on a grand scale. The unique format of the biombo provided new ways for artists to depict subject-matter, and locally made biombos began appearing in the archival record in the first years of the 17th century. ...

Article

Burgau  

Gordon Campbell

[burgaudine; Burgos mother-of-pearl]

Decorative material used for inlays derived from a group of tropical shells of which the most common is Turbo marmoratus. It was long used in Europe for the decoration of weapons, cutlery and small boxes. In China and Japan the technique known in Europe as laque burgauté or lac burgauté...

Article

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

Term derived from chinois (Fr.: ‘Chinese’) denoting a type of European art dominated by Chinese or pseudo-Chinese ornamental motifs. The term is most often applied to decorative arts produced from the second half of the 17th century to the early 19th, when trading contacts between Europe and East Asia were at their height.

Although overland and sea routes had brought a steady supply of Asian spices, silk, furs, ivory and other commodities to the ancient world, it was Marco Polo who first fired the imagination of the West with his description of his travels and experiences at Kublai Khan’s court that he published after his return to Venice in 1295. Other travellers also recorded their tales, the most famous being the pseudonymous ‘Sir John Mandeville’ whose Travels was published in Lyons in 1480. Its fairy-tale evocation of the Near East and East Asia was translated into every European language and fuelled a longing for ‘Cathay’. This romantic vision, taking the various forms of Chinoiserie, ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Furniture foot, popular in the 18th century, characterized by the representation of an eagle’s claw clasping a ball; in the Chinese bronzes from which the motif derives, the foot is a dragon’s claw.

M. Headley: ‘Carving a Ball-and-claw Foot: Tracing the Techniques of a Williamsburg Cabinetmaker’, Fine Woodworking, 84 (Sept–Oct 1990), pp. 83–7...

Article

J. Hardy

(b Spa, Belgium, 1657; d Bensberg, 1715).

Belgian Japanner, active in Berlin. He practised as a decorative artist in Spa before moving in the 1680s to Berlin, where he became famous for his painted furniture. By 1687 his proficiency in gilding and decorative painting, particularly japanning, which imitated lacquerwork from East Asia (see Lacquer, §I, 2), gained him the post of Kammerkünstler to Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg. On the accession in 1688 of Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg (after 1701, Frederick I of Prussia) he retained responsibility for interior decoration and furnishings at the court and in 1696 was appointed Intendant des Ornements. His brother Jacques Dagly (1665–1729) joined him in the management of the firm, which provided gilded, polychromed and japanned cabinets as well as such other furnishings as treen painted to imitate porcelain for the royal palaces. Their clients included harpsichord manufacturers as well as the nobility, and such was their fame that in Paris their cabinets became known as ‘Berlin’ cabinets. They embellished snuff-boxes, cane knobs, sword guards and tin wares and invented methods of applying ...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

Technique for imitating Asian Lacquer. Once Dutch and Portuguese traders imported lacquer ware from the Far East after 1700, Europeans became fascinated by this technique. Originating in ancient China, it spread to Japan where it is still practiced in the 21st century. The process involved the application of up to a hundred coats of lacquer produced from the sap of the Rhus vernicifera tree, native to China, Malaya, and Japan. Despite attempts to discover the secret, Europeans could not duplicate the process. Since the sap quickly congeals it did not travel well and was toxic like poison ivy.

In 1688 A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing by John Stalker and George Parker explained how to imitate the process by applying shellac dissolved in alcohol over a gessoed surface (see Stalker and Parker). Black was the most common color but red, white, blue, green, yellow, olive brown, and imitation tortoise shell (black streaked with vermillion) were also known. After designs were drawn on the surface, a mixture of red clay or sawdust, whiting, and gum arabic was daubed into the outlines and the raised images were sculpted with engraving tools and then colored with metal dust. A variation called ...

Article

Phylis Floyd

French term used to describe a range of European borrowings from Japanese art. It was coined in 1872 by the French critic, collector and printmaker Philippe Burty ‘to designate a new field of study—artistic, historic and ethnographic’, encompassing decorative objects with Japanese designs (similar to 18th-century Chinoiserie), paintings of scenes set in Japan, and Western paintings, prints and decorative arts influenced by Japanese aesthetics. Scholars in the 20th century have distinguished japonaiserie, the depiction of Japanese subjects or objects in a Western style, from Japonisme, the more profound influence of Japanese aesthetics on Western art.

There has been wide debate over who was the first artist in the West to discover Japanese art and over the date of this discovery. According to Bénédite, Félix Bracquemond first came under the influence of Japanese art after seeing the first volume of Katsushika Hokusai’s Hokusai manga (‘Hokusai’s ten thousand sketches’, 1814) at the printshop of ...

Article

(b Hong Kong, 1896; d England, 1985).

English designer. With her husband David Joel shortly after World War I she founded Betty Joel Ltd, which was based in a workshop at Hayling Island near Portsmouth, Hants. Early Joel furniture was made in oak, teak and mahogany and executed by craftsmen in an idiosyncratic style of Arts and Crafts combined with Neo-Georgian. In the 1930s a shop was opened in Knightsbridge, London, and manufacturing moved to a factory in Kingston-upon-Thames, designed for the company by H. S. Goodhart-Rendel. By this time Joel’s designs were influenced by the Modern Movement: mostly expensive pieces made to commission in light-coloured woods and veneers. Serpentine, curved and bow-fronted work was produced, as well as simpler planar and ‘stepped’ furniture (e.g. oak dressing-table, 1931; London, V&A). Wood, steel and glass were used for the framework of the furniture, with such luxury materials as ivory for the handles. As well as space-saving and built-in furniture for small modern flats, the firm, working to the drawings of the Joels or other designers, produced lavish interiors for such clients as ...

Article

Magot  

Gordon Campbell

Literally a Barbary ape, but used in a transferred sense to denote a grotesque Chinese or Japanese figurine (typically in porcelain or ivory) represented in a sitting position.

S. Situ: Le magot de Chine: Ou Trésor du symbolisme chinois: A la recherche du symbolisme dans les motifs de ‘chinoiseries’ (Paris, 2001)...

Article

Mingqi  

Gordon Campbell

Chinese funerary wares made from the Han dynasty (206 bcad 220) onward. Most are low-fired ceramic figurines, but there are also models of furniture and household possessions in bronze and pewter.

J. P. Desroches: ‘Trois acquisitions exceptionnelles au muséee national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet: Les sculptures du royaume de Chu (Ve–IIIe siècle av. J.-C.)’, ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Spokane, WA, 1905; d 1990).

American furniture designer and manufacturer. The son of Japanese parents, after an early career as an architect he turned in 1940 to furniture-making, initially in Seattle and then, after a period of internment, in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where in 1946 he estabished an independent workshop. The workshop produces both series and individual designs, always in solid hardwood with no veneers; designs reflect both American and Japanese traditions, but are contemporary rather than revivalist. Although Nakashima is sometimes described as one of the founding figures of the American craft movement, his workshop used machine tools and, in the case of his series designs, production methods to create furniture that looks hand-crafted. The workshop is still a family business, and is now run by his daughter Mira (b 1942).

The Soul of a Tree: A Woodworker’s Reflections (Tokyo and New York, 1981) D. Ostergard: George Nakashima: Full Circle (New York, 1989)...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Zhou Lijun

Work table used by Chinese literati painters and calligraphers. The most important items found on the scholar’s table are the wenfang si bao (four treasures of the scholar’s studio): the inkstone, inkstick, brush and paper (see China, People’s Republic of §XIV 4.). In addition to the four treasures, the artist needed a variety of other utilitarian objects, such as brushpots, water holders, mixing dishes for the ink, an absorbant material to back Chinese paper and weights to hold the paper in position. The use of ink, brush and paper probably began in the Han period (206 bcad 220). In the Song period (960–1279) gentlemen–scholars took great interest in the antiquity of their scholar’s tables. The revival of Confucianism at this time was accompanied by a renewed interest in ancient objects, such as bronzes. The kilns at Yixing, Jiangsu Province, specialized in the production of small, red stoneware vessels fashioned in plant and animal shapes for the scholar’s table, and ...

Article

Spa  

Gordon Campbell

Flemish centre of japanning. The watering-town of Spa, near Liège in Flanders (now Belgium), was an important japanning centre from the late 17th century. Lacquered articles made there, especially a characteristic lacquered walking stick or bourdon, were renowned and avidly collected by visitors. The products collectively known as bois de Spa ranged from large pieces of furniture to snuff-boxes....

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b 1740; d 1829).

German japanner. His factory in Brunswick, which was established with the support of the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (reg 1735–80), was famous for fine, japanned papier-mâché snuff-boxes and similar items, painted with portraits, landscapes and genre scenes, made at his factory in Brunswick from 1765 until his death in 1829...

Article

Tatami  

Gordon Campbell

Japanese floor mats made with densely packed rice straw enclosed in a cover of woven rush bound lengthwise. Tatami matting first appeared as a floor covering in the Heian period ( ad794–1185) and was initially laid over floorboards in Shinden-style mansions. By the 17th century it was used as a complete floor covering in important rooms in élite residences and in the houses of many commoners. In the late 20th century, however, floors of imported polished woods, synthetic substitutes and carpet became more common than tatami....

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Thuja  

Gordon Campbell

Article

(b Paris, 1742; d Paris, Dec 13, 1803).

French cabinetmaker. He was the son of a Parisian cabinetmaker and was an independent workman before becoming a maître-ébéniste on 14 July 1773. He specialized in marquetry, in particular Chinese-style figures, trophies, still-lifes and flower garlands (e.g. Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.). He also used veneers embellished with bronze mounts depicting such subjects as vases on a terrace or children playing with a cat (e.g. New York, Met.). He was also a dealer in ready-made marquetry motifs. He produced very few pieces of furniture, preferring to buy them from colleagues, decorate them and then sell them to the most famous cabinetmakers or marchand-merciers. A large number of small and prettily decorated pieces of furniture bear his signature (e.g. New York, Met.; Cincinnati, OH, A. Mus.; Detroit, MI, Inst. A.). He was declared bankrupt in 1789.

J. Viaux: Bibliographie du meuble (Mobilier civil français), 2 vols (Paris, 1966–88) G. de Bellaigue: ‘Charles Topino (1742–1803)’, ‘Möbelkunst und Luxusmarkt im 18. Jahrhundert’, ...