Case Containing Plaques
On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor
This group of plaques shows the steps in the process for making cloisonné. Technically, cloisonné employs the diverse skills of painting, engraving, metalworking, casting, and firing. To create designs on metal vessels, enclosures made of bronze or copper called cloisons (French for “partitions”) are bent to the desired pattern and either pasted or soldered onto the body. Enamels are essentially glass, colored with metal oxides, that is ground to a powder, mixed with water, and placed as a paste inside the cloisons. The vessel is then fired at a low heat between 1280 and 1328 degrees Fahrenheit. During firing, the enamel may shrink; after cooling, the process is repeated and re-fired until the cells are completely filled with fused enamel.
Cloisonne enamel on copper alloy, wooden box
late 19th-early 20th century
Box: 1 3/16 x 10 13/16 x 12 in. (3 x 27.5 x 30.5 cm)
each enamel: 2 1/2 x 3 1/8 in. (6.4 x 8 cm)
Museum Collection Fund
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