Chinoiserie
(793 words)

The term chinoiserie emerged around the mid-18th century from the French chinois (“Chinese”), and it denotes a style in 17th and 18th-century European art that is informed by Chinese or pseudo-Chinese motifs and ornaments, forms and materials. However, no historical, geographical, or stylistic distinctions were made, so that Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and sometimes even Ottoman and Egyptian elements merged into a European construct of the “Oriental.”

China (“Cathay”), which was almost unknown during the rule of the Ming Dynasty (1369-1644), became in the pub…

Cite this page
Bischoff, Cordula, “Chinoiserie”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 24 June 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018037>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907



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