Sparkle and Charm: Canton Enamels of the Qing Dynasty
Exhibition Period: From 17 September 2022 to 8 January 2023
Venue: Gallery II, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Sparkle and Charm: Canton Enamels of the Qing Dynasty is the Hong Kong’s first art promotion project supported by the China National Arts Fund. The Art Museum will also mount a contemporary enamel art show with jewellery design workshop Loupe at PMQ. The two exhibitions showcase a host of world-class painted enamelware of the Qing dynasty and innovative contemporary enamel artworks.
 

Sparkle and Charm: Canton Enamels of the Qing Dynasty features more than 170 sets of Canton enamels of the Qing dynasty along with complementary porcelain and paintings, providing the public with more insights into this artistic craft by illustrating the distinctive tradition and history of enamelware, and advanced enameling techniques such as the use of colours and ways of painting.

Painted enamelware, a translucent or opaque substance made from glass and other materials that is applied as ornament to the surface of metals, porcelain, glass, etc., was introduced from Europe to China during the late 17th century (the early Qing dynasty). It enthralled the Kangxi Emperor, who instructed the imperial workshops to develop the enameling technology, reproduce the enamels, and apply them on metals, porcelain, and glass. In the process, craftsmen from Canton, now Guangzhou, and Western missionaries who were familiar with the enameling techniques, glass making and painting skills were recruited into the imperial workshops, to produce enamel works.

These painted enamels with Chinese and Western elements were mainly for the emperors’ use and for imperial gifts, as well as for export and home markets. Rarely do these ancient artefacts from the past centuries reach a wide audience these days, apart from a few exhibits at the China’s palace museums and a few museums in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

To preserve the legacy of enamel art and raise the public’s interest in it, CUHK’s Art Museum and Loupe will organise a series of DIY workshops and talks alongside the exhibitions. Details of the programmes will be released later via the Art Museum’s website and social media platforms.

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All members of the public are welcome. Entry is free. 

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