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The History Behind Chinese Lamps & Asian Accessories in Western Decor

Updated on January 30, 2012

An Ode to Asian Aesthetics

Chinoiserie (at other times known as 'India work', 'Japan work', and 'China work') is a style which involves aesthetic emulation of Asian aesthetics (via the use of lacquer, specific patterns, architectural elements, or other means). Chinoiserie emerged after China eased foreign trade restrictions in 1684, and can also be seen as a reaction to Classicism and as a result of growing fascination with Asian culture.

Chinoiserie All Around Us

The style has been applied to porcelain, clothing, wallpaper, fabric, furniture, sculpture, architecture, landscape and urban design, and even theatrical plays. Since its emergence, chinoiserie has had its ups and downs and has experienced varied revivals.

While its major heyday was in the 18th century, chinoiserie is still played with today. One modern manifestation is described as chinoiserie-chic, which mixes traditional chinoiserie with modern-day Chinese kitsch. Another instance involves a renewed interest in modern Chinese goods, which parallels the Asian influence and interest of the 1700s.

Yet one more renewed emergence of the style is seen with the Chinoiserie brand, which provides fancy nail lacquer.

Future Trends

In the future, we might expect to see some interesting new manifestations of chinoiserie- perhaps with Chinese-made electronics and appliances (which are quite innovative and unique indeed) instead of simple aesthetic flourishes. You can see a combination of the two potential developments below:

As China gains global economic and cultural influence, we can also expect to see much more of the country's influence in contemporary design.


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for reading, asmaiftikhar!

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 6 years ago from Pakistan

      good informative article keep it up.