The Coromandel lacquer screens, or engraved and painted lacquer screens, constitute one of the most prestigious creations of Chinese art in its peak, during the 17th and 18th centuries. This book drives us into the history of these magnificent objects that crossed seas and oceans to arrive to us.
Our work is illustrated with a majority of pieces from private collections, and as such, unknown to the general audience. The large screens are subject to a detailed analysis of mythological or symbolic themes. Within their descriptions, we will discover the officials’ life in their palaces and pavilions, that of the scholars, engaged in calligraphy, poetry or music, and that of women and children immersed in singular games. We will identify animals that are caught in their vivacity and yet are allegorical; we will visit gardens, lakes and real landscapes, as mapped by the artists; we will penetrate the meaning of the votive characters and the mechanisms of their symbols; we will explore the Taoist paradise and will dialogue with the immortals. Through their history, we will study the adventures of the travellers, sailors and merchants who founded their companies and outposts on the other side of the world to allow for the opening of trade relations between the Far East and Europe. At last, we will address the destiny that the westerners reserved for these screens, by using them in other arrangements, either mounted by great cabinet-makers or panelled on walls.
For twenty-three years, the author Nicole Brugier was responsible for Ateliers Brugier, founded in 1920 by her father André Brugier, who was a prominent figure of the Art Deco period. The Ateliers Brugier are specialised in all that relates to lacquer. Their activity is organised around three areas: restoration, lacquerers and dealers. Almost a century of experience and documentation can be found in this book, which is not only a passionate endeavour, but also a cultural, artistic and religious journey to discover the treasures of Chinese art. Nicole Brugier is a member of the
national chamber of experts specialised in antiques and works of art. Her company has been hired to perform prestigious restorations for the Musée du Louvre, Musée Guimet and Château de Versailles.
Published by Editions La Bibliothèque des Arts, Switzerland, 2015
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