A French term referring to that which is Chinese, it was a recurring theme in European art from the 17th century. Often an attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain, it "is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China". Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinoiserie<br><br>A French word also used by English speakers, for any aspect of Chinese influence on the arts and crafts of Europe, whether produced by Chinese artists, by Europeans, or by others. This term is generally reserved for objects made in the late 17th and throughout the 18th centuries. This roughly coincides with a massive increase in exports from China following the lifting of China's ban on foreign trade in 1684.In every age following the return of the Italian Marco Polo from his 13th century journey to China, Europeans experienced waves of interest in Chinese culture, variously seen as exotic, mysterious, and beautiful. With eastern Asia's distance from Europe adding to the appeal of its exports, as well as to the expense of obtaining them, a market in objects evoking Chinese styles thrived. Even when their authenticity as truly Chinese was simulated, Europeans' interest resulted in the production of objects displaying various sorts of imitation, emulation, and speculation, with many Oriental crafts designed specifically for the European taste.In London throughout the 1740s, there was a revival of the enthusiasm for chinoiserie, which had been prevalent in the late seventeenth century. Chinoiserie taste was expressed in Western imitations or evocations of Chinese art, which were seldom accurate and always rendered with some deference to the European stylistic ideals of the time. The most notable examples of 17th century chinoiserie include Dutch Delft ceramics, French embroidery, and "japanned" furniture made in the Netherlands and in England. On furniture coated with this lacquer substitute, chinoiserie presented numerous subjects from the Middle Kingdom: pagodas, white cranes, and small Oriental figures.Particularly popular in the Rococo period was a type of chinoiserie reflecting fanciful and poetic notions of China. Such objects included textiles, porcelains, and architecture. Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721) and Fran?ois Boucher (French, 1703-1770) were among the French Rococo painters of Chinese subjects. Thomas Chippendale, the chief exponent in England, produced a unique and decorative type of furniture. In the American colonies Chinese objects and wallpapers were employed in the decoration of rooms, most notably in Philadelphia.Although the popularity of chinoiserie faded as interest in Neoclassicism increased in the second half of the 18th century, there was a revival in the early 19th century, as seen in the extravagant architecture and decoration of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, England. By this time, however, the Chinese taste can be considered as part of the emerging cult of the picturesque.Parallels to chinoiserie have become increasingly common in today's global culture, as members of nearly every society are drawn to consume products from across the world. Witness the popularity of Japanese animation, Jamaican reggae, American fast foods, television, movies, etc. This trend is furthered by viewing such materials as the pages you find here.(pr. shə-NWAH-zə-REE)Examples: see thumbnail to leftAmoy (English, 19th century), Chinoiserie Foot Bath, 19th century, glazed ceramic, 8 1/2 x 19 x 13 7/16 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.