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Pronunciation: (shēn wäz-rē)
French in origin
Chinoiserie, a French term signifying “Chinese-esque”, refers to a recurring theme that reflects Chinese artistic influences. It is an ornate style of adornment found on furniture, textiles and ceramics typically from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Much of Europe was greatly influenced by Chinese art, which was brought back to Europe by travelers during this time period.
Chinoiserie is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquer-like materials and decoration.
These Chinese based motifs depicted images from the exotic Far East such as the exploits of the famous Marco Polo. Chinoiserie was so popular during the Rococo period that there was hardly a court residence in Europe that didn’t have a “Chinese Room”.