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Chinoiserie

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Have you seen the (not so) new Gucci campaign? It stopped me dead in my tracks. Patterned, bejewelled, embroidered. All some of my happy words! And it made me realise that our fascination with the Orient has never really stopped. It’s as if it serves as a little reminder – the world is way to colourful and pretty to just drown in a sea of monochrome. And isn’t it just cunning how fashion follows interiors – I’m seeing Eastern influences everywhere. It is just so damn utterly timelessly, classy. 

In the West, we look at art through life. Well, that’s one way of living. In the Orient they look at life through art.  

            Paul Rand

You might ask, when did the fascination with the Orient start? We can thank good old Colonialism (again) for this. The Brits started importing Japanese art & artefacts, soon after founding the East India Company. Artefacts had to wait – first on the whishlist was tea and a boat load of good ol’ Opium (last one, not such a wise choice in the end). Thus the Japanese style of decoration was established in Great Britain well before 1894. It even got given a name – Chinoiserie.

In short, it means the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions – specifically focussing on the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature.

Lets look at some other Chinoiserie examples, other than these fabulous Gucci frocks. 

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Walls

Slap on some wallpaper in the Chinoiserie style. Yes, it’s pricey, so why not invest in just a roll or two and frame them as panels of art? Works for me. Or turn your cupboard into an Orient masterpiece – wallpaper the doors!

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Bathrooms

Always one of my favourites – how beautiful is this pagoda-style mirror against the china blue wallpaper?

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

In Unexpected Places

Just love the scenic choiserie mural in this nursery – so diferent and most definitely something they can grow into.

Chinoiserie

Ming-style vases, greenery – a winning combo – always! But what if you supersize the ming vases and place them next to water? Genius!

Chinoiserie

What is nicer than this happy scene in an entry way? The garden stools almost make you feel as if you’re in a conservatory.

Chinoiserie

Furniture

Bamboo, garden stools, pagoda mirrors – take your pic. Mix it up! The unexpected, becomes the admired.

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Tablescapes

Probably the easiest way to show off some Chinoiserie style. This table setting is from a very traditional Southern home. The monogrammed linen says it all. But the Pagoda-style monogram and mix Oriental patterns just transports your to somewhere magical. 

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Plantlife

Bring the outdoor in! Ming-style vases paired with orchards, citrus are just instant crowd pleasers.

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie

Pic Source: 1-3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9| 10| 11| 12| 13| 14| 15| 16| 17| 18| 19| 20| 21|

 

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Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Have you ever broken a plate? On purpose? I have……. and it felt good! I’m not Greek, although, a small part of me wish I was. I had a flatmate at Varsity who is Greek, and I used to live for sunday evenings – she used to rock-up at the flat with left-over Moussaka, and some insanely sweet  Batklava – which we would use to eat in one sitting with 3 spoons – Gaedry, Michelle & myself. Heaven.  Who on earth could say no to Souvlaki, Moussaka, a good generous chunk of feta with a glass of wine or a mean salad, peppered with olives, sun-ripened tomatoes and a kick-ass dressing….. a simple one – preferred. Definitely not me. I simply love food to much. 

 

Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate.

                                                                      Emily Dickinson

But… so is the presentation thereof……. don’t give me food slapped on a plate with no love. I can sense it. And I don’t like it. It is right up there with you handing me a gift that was not wrapped – for God’s sake, take the time to wrap it – even if it’s a box of chocolates, it will escalate in value ten fold, just because of its presentation……..

So, in short, please take the time to set the table (even if done in a simple way) and for God’s sake, please set a plate. I’m not one to straddle my food on a stick, wine glass in hand and trying to sound intelligent (I talk with my hands). 

It seems that evolution has clearly left its mark – plates are required to at least look civilised, not even bordering  posh…….. unlike the Greeks, who smashed them once they where done, we tend to seek out really nice looking ones – even wash them and keep them – to admire behind glass-fronted cabinets.  According to Wikipedia,  the custom probably derives from an ancient practice of ritually “killing” plates on mourning occasions, as a means of dealing with loss. Breaking plates may also be related to the ancient practise of conspicuous consumption, a display of one’s wealth, as plates or glasses are thrown into a fireplace following a banquet instead of being washed and reused. I think I might just get use to that. I should have married a Greek I guess, but I settled for a Scot, so washing plates are in my near & far future. 

It is thought that the earliest plates used by people would have been large leaves, gourd halves, or perhaps sea shells which would be used as simple bowls for holding food. Food items would be placed upon the large leaves or on other containers in the centre of the eating area then eaten communally by all members of a tribe, family, or group.

People discovered early on though the uses of clay and made for themselves simple bowls, cups, jugs, and storage jars. Examples of the pottery dinnerware made by these early people can be seen in museums around the world.

The idea of individuals having their own plate to eat from is a fairly new idea. Originally in Europe food would have been brought to the table on platters and carved. People would then use their fingers to take what they wanted from the platters to eat. Breads and fruit would be placed in baskets on the floor for diners to help themselves.

In order to help you with some side plate issues, I’ve rounded-up the nicest looking ones – perfect to place next to your standard white crockery. What you think? No need breaking these beauties. I’ll hang onto my Scot.

 

 

Plate Parade

 

 

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

 

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade MP_009 MP_006  

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

http://www.ruanhoffmann.com/old-work/

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Plate Parade

Pic Source: 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9| 10| 11| 12| 13| 14| 15| 16| 17| 18| 19| 20| 21| 22| 23|24|

 

 

 

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Comments { 6 }