19. Jewel of a jug

Most posts so far have been about vases and jars, but cloisonne was used as a decoration on a wide range of items. This next object, a little jug, shows how even simple items can be made beautiful.

The design may be simple, but it is skillfully executed. Notice the goldstone patterns in the middle area, the use of thicker wire spirals as decoration, and the two colours of reflective blue used in small areas for maximum effect. This jug catches the sunlight and sparkles wherever it is seen from.

The jug also has a very solid feel for such a small item. It was designed to be used in some way, rather than just as a decorative object. The handle is very strong and the spout is a practical size.

ref 19.6

If one thing stands out it in the sunlight it is the jewel like effect of the central blue spot, on a red background and positioned close to white floral decoration for contrast. The goldstone areas also sparkle, but the blue dots are remarkable given their small size – each is just 4 mm across. If we look at a high resolution picture of one of them we can see how it is achieved. There are hundreds of tiny reflective particles or fragments within clear blue enamel. There must have been an enormous amount of very skilled work involved in producing just these small areas of decoration.

While there are many fine pieces of cloisonne with greater artistic content, this simple jug puts beauty into an everyday item. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite items.

Object 19: Jug height 11.2 cm weight 135 gm.

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