This exquisite cloisonné enamel jardinière was crafted in China in the 19th Century, then exported to France, where it was mounted in gilt bronze (ormolu). The piece speaks of the rich history of cultural exchange between the Far East and Europe. This jardinière demonstrates Chinese mastery of the cloisonné enamel technique, and the ability of French craftsmen to enhance the beauty of an object by fitting it with fine gilt bronze (ormolu) mounts.
The jardinière mouth is edged with a gilt bronze flared rim, composed of pierced repeated cloud motifs. This is mounted with two rectangular handles, which continue down the jardinière body to form dragon heads, holding a second pair of handles in their mouths.
Created from cloisonné enamel, the body of the jardinière is beautifully decorated with green foliage and light blue, green, and red flowers, which are visited by similarly-coloured butterflies. These designs are placed against a blue ground. In the cloisonné enamel technique, metal ‘cloisons’ (cells of space) are soldered onto the surface of the object, then filled with vitreous enamel. The outlines of the cloisons are visible as decorative geometric patterns on the jardinière’s body. A continuous band of cloud motifs decorates the top of the body, and the neck is ornamented with a black meander.
The jardinière is placed on a gilt bronze base, which is pierced with decorative scrolling forms. The base is set on four legs, with lion’s heads and paw feet.