Chinese Art :
Qing Dynasty (Ching) : Pair of cloisonné ram figurines
Pair of cloisonné ram figurines - CB.166
4.2" (10.7cm) high
x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Additional Information: C
Location: Great Britain
Each of the rams has been modelled with the four
gilt bronze legs tucked underneath the body, the
enamels consisting of stylised vegetal elements
in a vivid ochre and yellow colour against an
intense green background.
Each head in a raised alert posture is turned
slightly to one side and is surmounted by gilt
horns. There is an oval lidded opening on the
back of each of the figurines.
Enamelling is a meticulous and extremely time-
consuming craft. Enamels are a form of glass
coloured with metallic oxides and applied as a
paste, usually to a metallic body, generally of
copper, although other metals may be also used.
When the object is fired in a kiln to an appropriate
temperature, the enamels melt and fuse to the
body. The object is then cooled and its surface is
polished to a high-gloss finish.
There are various enamelling techniques.
The simplest is champlevé, where a pattern or
design is carved out of a metallic body, with the
enamel paste then applied into the resulting
hollow, the piece being in consequence fired and
In cloisonné enamelling, fine wires are used to
delineate the areas destined for decoration
(cloisons in French, hence cloisonné) into which
the enamel paste is then applied before the
object is fired and finally polished. These fine
wires serve a dual function: they can be an
integral part of the decoration while at the same
time preventing the molten enamels from flowing
into adjoining areas during firing.