Jing Tai Lan (Jing Tai blue ware or cloisonné enamel)

Country: China

Jing Tai Lan is also known as filigree enamel with copper mold. It thrived in reigns of the Jingtai Emperor, Ming Dynasty, therefore it was named as Jing Tai Enamel or Jing Tai Lang. Later, since sapphire (Chinese pinyin: bao shi lan) and peacock blue (Chinese pinyin: kong que lan) were usually used as the color of bottom lining and the character “lang” in Jing Tai Lang sounds similar to “lan”, the name evolved into “Jing Tai Lan” in the end. Now the name “Jing Tai Lan” covers all the filigree enamel with copper mold.

Jing Tai Lan is the most important and the most traditional artware among the enamel artwares. The process of making Jing Tai Lan is as follows. The first step is to use red copper to make a mold. Then the craftsperson will paint on the mold and then weld the copper wire on the copper mold according to the drawn pattern. Next the craftsperson will inlay glaze into the empty spaces of the pattern. Finally, Jing Tai Lan is completed after repeated enamel-firing, polishing and gilding. The technique of Jing Tai Lan uses both techniques of bronze and chinaware, with a lot of references to traditional painting sculpture skills. It is a compound craft process combined various techniques together such as metallurgy, casting, painting, ceramics, carving, engraving, hammering.

An exquisite Jing Tai Lan product must have bright color, solid mold, even welding and splendid gilding. There are many glazes for Jing Tai Lan, and the most commonly used colors are sky blue (light blue), sapphire blue (lapis lazuli blue), red (color of chicken blood), dark green (jade green with translucence), white (color of Tridacnidae spp.), grape purple (color of amethyst with glass texture), purplish red (rosiness) and bright blue (bright color between sky blue and sapphire blue).

Beijing is the characteristic production place of Jing Tai Lan artwares. Beijing Enamel Factory are still producing enamelwork now. The national-level master Zhang Tonglu in Beijing is the expert of Jing Tailan works with his own studio whose works are sold at home and abroad.