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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Word of the Day chinoiserie

Word of the Day

  • chinoiserie
  • audio pronunciation
  • \sheen-wah-zuh-REE\
: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs; also : an object or decoration in this style
We admired our host's daring taste in home décor, which combined spare modern elements with chinoiserie.

"Bamboo chairs vie with 19th-century lacquered armoires, nooks covered in chinoiserie toile and paisley-block prints exude irresistible coziness, and whimsical yet inviting rooms reflect a confluence of historical periods ranging from Rococo to Regency." — From an article by Lindsay Talbot in Harper's Bazaar, October 1, 2013
In 1670, King Louis XIV had the Trianon de Porcelaine erected at Versailles. It was a small structure—a pleasure house built for the king's mistress—and it was decorated with chinoiserie and faced with faience tiles with a blue and white chinoiserie pattern. The building persists in history as the first major example of chinoiserie—the English word is borrowed straight from French, which based the word on "chinois," its word for "Chinese"—but the trend it began long outlasted the building itself, which was destroyed a mere 17 years later to make way for the Grand Trianon. Chinoiserie itself was popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and enjoyed a brief revival in the 1930s. And people still enjoy it today.


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