Wikipedia defines Chinoiserie this way; Chinoiserie ( French for “Chinese-esque”) is a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences. It is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquer-like materials and decoration.Chinoiserie in a broader scope refers to a mixture of Eastern and Western stylistic elements for both the decoration and shape. The style held particular favour during the Rococo period and the court of Louis XV, with which its fanciful, ornate and idyllic imagery is commonly associated.
Chinoiserie as noted above is not new, the trend behaves like most styles in that it evolves over time to suit our way of living. The Chinese and Japanese depicted their history much in the way all early peoples did by drawing and painting their story. Often the original paintings told the stories of courtships which is why most Chinoiserie toile has a romantic flair. For instance, consider the symbol of the cherry blossom, gondola rides on small lakes and birds. The Chinoise architecture is, however, more masculine with it’s straight geometrical lines and repeating patterns. Often these elements are visible on chairs and cabinets. I think the soft and flowing romantic prints on solid straight lined furniture represent the Yin and Yang that is Chinoiserie design.
A few weeks ago I wrote about The Largest Furnishings Trade Show in the World in High Point North Carolina and it’s this North American show that exhibits the trends to come. There were a lot of vendors showing Chinoiserie. One of the most recognisable Chinoise pattern is that of the blue and white pots and vases.
Today’s Chinoiserie offers a lot more than it’s traditional blue and white roots. There are versions for every style and taste.
Wall papers are often popular choice for Chinoiserie and so is lacquer furniture. The twisting branches of the cherry blossom is a popular motif. I love the lilac and navy Chinoise interpretation bedding from Surya.
Adding some unique Chinoiserie pieces to any decor adds a sense of classic historical reference.