中日歐 工藝交流史| History of trading witnessed by antiques at Liang Yi Museum


The pursuit of beautiful things in human genetics is demonstrated in exquisite antiques at Liang Yi Museum. 


The latest exhibition “Beneath the Surface: Chinese inlay, Japanese Maki-e; and European Cloisonne Enamel” showcased artiques that witnessed the history of communication between the East and the West. Besides artique furnitures from China and Japan, there are also luxury vanities and powder boxes from Europe. Visitors are even encouraged to touch and interact with these antiques!


The exhibition “Beneath the Surface” is mainly divided into three parts, the Chinese Baibaoqian, the Japanese Maki-e, and Enamelling from Europe. The techniques of using lacquer were initiated in China, and in the 8th century, it is afferented into Japan along with Buddhism. The lacquer techniques are further developed in Japan into their own set of skills and methods, as known as Maki-e. 

十八世紀,121 x 61 x 44 公分
A Pair of Hwanghuali Inlaid Southern Official’s Armchairs,
18th Century, 121 x 61 x 44 cm


In China, the purpose of lacquer mainly act as a medium for attachment; numerous materials of different shades and texture are incorporated onto the surface painted of lacquer, to be assembled into patterns and pictures; the variety in materials is deliberately conveyed in the name of these crafts, “Inlay Of Hundred Treasures” (Baibaoqian). It is initially incorporated on smaller items like wooden boxes and objects in daily lives, and it is also seen utilised in decorating the surfaces of furnitures, to achieve an even more luxurious and fashionable effect. 

A Tebako (Handy Box) Containing Toiletries and Travelling Writing Utensils, 18-19th century
攜帶性梳妝與書寫用具及用具箱, 18至19世紀


In Japan, they also developed a set of lacquer techniques of their own, Maki-e. Maki-e is made by spreading different types of metal powder on a wet surface of lacquer. Later on, Chinese and Japanese style of decoration became in European countries, some exporting crafts would even adapt to the lifestyles of the European, along with overwhelming Easternised patterns on the surface of their crafts. 

各式書寫用具 Types of Decorative Writing Utensils

Necessaire by Cartier,
c. 1920, 3.2 x 4.5 x 10.5 cm
約1920年,3.2 x 4.5 x 10.5公分
Compact (Gold, enamel and silver),
c. 1920, 1.5 x 6.6 cm
約1920年,1.5 x 6.6 公分


Yet it is unable to grow lacquer trees in European countries, instead, the techniques of Enamelling is developed. There are different types of Enamelling, including Cloisonne, Champleve, and Painted Enamel. These techniques are incorporated in decorating all sorts of crafts and powder boxes called “necessaire”. In particular European enamel crafts, we can even see the adaptation of Eastern patterns and artistic approach.

Vase, Ando Jubei (1876-1953), 20th Century, 15.2 x 15.4 cm
花瓶, 安藤重兵衛(1876年-1953年),二十世紀,15.2 x 15.4 公分


Enamelling is also afferented back into Japan known as “Shippo/ Seven Treasure”, to describe the colourfulness of enamel craft. The techniques of Enamelling bloomed in Japan, making the metal wires of gold or silver are blurred into the enamelware, to portray the vividness and shades of the image. On the other hand, Russian Enamelling also developed their own styles and skills; the patterns of Russian Enamelling resembles Middle East style of decoration, it is highly decorative with many vibrant colour, and there are also higher variation in the design of patterns. 

Plate with Imperial Warrant Khlebnikov, Khlebnikov, 1908-1917,
1.3 x Diameter 19 cm
碟, Khlebnikov,1908-1917年,
1.3 x 直徑19 公分


“Beneath the Surface: Chinese inlay, Japanese Maki-e; and European Cloisonne Enamel”


2020.5.19 – 


Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 – 18:00


香港上環荷李活道 181-199 號

181, 199 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan

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