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Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads
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Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
11/15/2020, 10:54:13

Small Chinese openwork cloisonné dragon beads.
These arrived in an 1980s-style necklace professionally strung with rose quartz and a Chinese gilded silver filigree clasp. An ugly combo, I thought, so I took it apart and have temporarily strung the beads with antique wound Chinese glass beads. I don't like this result, but it's keeping the beads together until I can come up with something more attractive.

At first I thought these beads were made in the 1970s, but I now think they date to pre-WWII, as they so closely match the dragon design and enamels found in Chinese cloisonné dragon beads used in costume jewelry from the 1930-early40s. Madame Chiang Kai-shek's visits to the US, especially the one in 1943, inspired fashion designers.

The beads measure less than 12mm - about 11.6-11.8, vertically hole-to-hole. Holes are large, 4mm.

That someone possessed the craftsmanship (and manual dexterity!) to make a whole matching set of such small beads is impressive, I think.

Japanese cloisonné beads (approx 14x15mm) strung on red inro cord for comparison.

ChineseCloisonneDragonBeadsBCN.jpg (147.8 KB)  ChineseCloisonneDragonBeadsBCN2.jpg (121.9 KB)  


Modified by beadiste at Sun, Nov 15, 2020, 12:19:45

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More pix
Re: Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
11/15/2020, 10:55:06

Comparison with small oval bead, Japanese beads on inro cord

ChineseCloisonneDragonBeadsBCN3.jpg (134.1 KB)  ChineseCloisonneDragonBeadsBCN4.jpg (151.9 KB)  


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Re: Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads/ Question please
Re: Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
11/20/2020, 02:10:21

The Vintage and Antique cloisonne colors no matter where they have been produced (China, Japan) seem so vibrant and rich. These are beautiful- thanks for sharing. Keeping my eye out hoping to luck into a few one day..so far no old cloisonne, but they really are too lovely to pass up!

Question- how does one tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese cloisonne beads? Is it mainly the design that helps you decide origin or the wire work technique, base metal such as copper, the colors used??..And what about age- how do you decide how relatively old or new the bead is? Are you able to give me some basic hints please?

This difference brings to mind an episode of Antiques Roadshow and an Antique Japanese red cloisonne vase:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5aEVRIJrSo

Do the difference that point to origin in larger pieces like vases hold true for beads in any way?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV0ycg3hzZo

Thanks so much, Anne H.

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

Modified by AnneLFG at Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 02:58:37

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Re: Re: Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads/ Question please -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
11/20/2020, 11:57:52

Anne, a few years ago I did a series of blog posts investigating Chinese cloisonne beads. Here's a link to a post contrasting Chinese and Japanese beads, with a link to the Beads: Journal article that Fredric Schneider helped we write on the history of Japanese cloisonne beads.

http://www.beadiste.com/2014/09/puzzling-evidence-japanese-cloisonne.html

Once upon a time I actually corresponded with Josh Chamberlain about a large Chinese vessel that appeared to be a good copy of a 19th century piece. His online nickname of "Juice" is a good choice, I think, LOL.


Related link: http://www.beadiste.com/2014/09/puzzling-evidence-japanese-cloisonne.html

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Re: Blog posts/Thanks so much!
Re: Blog posts -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
11/20/2020, 13:00:32

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

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Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/23/2020, 21:57:03

Hi Chris,

As you know from Facebook, I have been showing the dragon beads I have been buying over the previous fifteen months (this having become a prodigious number). And, of course, I have enjoyed our exchanges about issues of identification and times of production—as well as re-reading your blog essays on these topics.

I bought a necklace at eBay that is primarily black cloisonné with flowers, and also including some nice melon-form carnelian beads. I bought it because (even though the flower beads are commonplace and mediocre), it has two dragon beads next to the clasp.

Having examined the necklace, once I got it, I have drawn the conclusion (based on the clasp and the stringing style) that this piece was composed in the 1980s. And when the dragon beads are considered, they are such a departure from most of the beads we see in the marketplace, I am inclined to believe that these may represent a (new then) standard of production for the 1970s (perhaps).

I am showing the necklace here, as well as the closure. I know it's difficult or impossible to see these beads as "dragons"—but once I have cannibalized the necklace for parts, I will shoot these beads to show their circumferences.

Jamey

P.S.—My package for you was delayed this past week due to rain and a dental emergency. I'm hoping to get to it tomorrow!

1629_ja_clois_carn_nk_20.jpg (89.5 KB)  1632_ja_2dragons_clasp_nov20.jpg (96.8 KB)  


Modified by Beadman at Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 22:00:32

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Older artist vs younger
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
11/25/2020, 12:14:21

I have a hypothesis that the best cloisonné beads were produced c1960s-70s by the older artists, who then retired in the early 80s once mass production got ramped up following Deng Xiaoping's 1978 economic "Reform and Opening Up." Newer cloisonné artisans were simply drafted from wherever without much regard to actual artistic talent.

These being the years surrounding the Cultural Revolution probably didn't help - the Beijing Enamel Factory was directed by Mao to cease producing traditional dragons and phoenixes and move instead to themes about peasants and Chinese opera. By the early 70s, because Cultural Revolution themes obviously were not selling well to the export market in HongKong and the Friendship Shops, and sales of traditional arts & crafts were important sources of foreign exchange, the screws seem to have come off. Nonetheless, cloisonné designs seem to play it safe with strictly floral motifs, and that includes beads. Not even after Mao and Zhou Enlai died in 1976 was there a much of a return to the neat things that were made in earlier years (with the exception of dragons, because everyone loves dragons) and execution was much sloppier.

I also suspect that a telltale marker between 60s/70s beads and 80s beads is the style of cloud spiral in the background. By the 80s, it's all JingFa-style clouds.

I used the phoenixes in a necklace the seller related was purchased in China in the 1970s to illustrate this - one artist is familiar with the traditional iconography, another is not, and has difficulty fitting the elaborate bird onto the bead.

Your two dragons seem also to illustrate this - the eyes of the dragon on the left are not distinguished, but are filled with red enamel the same as its whiskers. Careless! The dragon on the right is much better - someone knew what they were trying to achieve.


Related link: http://www.beadiste.com/2013/12/puzzling-evidence-fenghuang-or-chinese.html

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Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/30/2020, 17:58:07

For those who may not use Facebook—a few photos of my dragon beads. JDA.

1917_ja_dragon_bds.jpg (98.2 KB)  1491_ja_nice_dragon_bd_dec19.jpg (95.9 KB)  


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Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/30/2020, 18:00:05

ja_big_dragon_bd_comp.jpg (108.4 KB)  1_9814_ja_dragon_bd_sep19.jpg (51.6 KB)  


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Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/30/2020, 18:01:30

1776_ja_white_dragon_comp.jpg (107.4 KB)  1776_ja_white_dragon_bd_1.jpg (94.4 KB)  


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Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/30/2020, 18:03:01

4577_ja_dragon_nk_mar20.jpg (123.7 KB)  1_4580_ja_turq_dragon_bd_mar20.jpg (136.4 KB)  


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Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/30/2020, 18:04:21

ja_sm_dragon_bd_comp_sep19.jpg (54.7 KB)  et_3dragon_bds_oct20.jpg (57.9 KB)  


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Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads- what i find attractive
Re: Re: Chinese Cloisonné Dragon Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Stefany Post Reply
12/01/2020, 02:07:46

i like the smooth curves and outlines the wire cloisons make that have a flowing look - not like a hesitant pencil outline or stitched lines on silk but firm -for example the cloud outlines- probably formed around a jig so they all match-



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