Europeans had long been intrigued by what they viewed as “exotic” Asian cultures; as few Europeans had traveled to Asia, they knew little about the region. While this led to more than a few misinterpretations and misunderstandings, Europeans nevertheless held Asian art and culture in high regard. Wanting to imitate these far-flung styles, Europeans began producing their own takes on East Asian artifacts, which paired well with the lavishly embellished rococo designs in vogue at the time. Monarchs and the aristocracy were especially fond of chinoiserie, and it made appearances in the palaces of Louis XV of France and King George IV of England.

Pair of Chinese blue-and-white Canton porcelain vases

Cobalt jar with cover, carrying Mandarin gold illustrations in Qianlong period style; and Imari style porcelain lidded bowl with Foo Dog finial

Tea was another of the era’s Asian imports. As traders began importing teas to Europe, the beverage grew in popularity. The culture and tradition of drinking tea, which encouraged an appropriately elaborate mise-en-scène complete with tea sets, tea tables, tea chests, and the like, only helped bolster the demand for all things chinoiserie.Tea was another of the era’s Asian imports. As traders began importing teas to Europe, the beverage grew in popularity. The culture and tradition of drinking tea, which encouraged an appropriately elaborate mise-en-scène complete with tea sets, tea tables, tea chests, and the like, only helped bolster the demand for all things chinoiserie.

Chinese blue-and-white porcelain vase; and pair of blue-and-white porcelain cups and saucers

Flip through any shelter magazine today and you’ll likely see east-meets-west elements on page after page. From colorful foo dogs to glossy lacquered furnishings, it encompasses far more than the blue-and-white porcelain we know and love.

Its classic aesthetic has stood the test of time and history in decorating—from Chinese porcelain to delftware and Wedgwood to chic cabana stripes. So it’s no surprise that designers such as Bunny Williams, Mark D. Sikes, and Amanda Nisbet have long sworn by it in many of their interiors.

Pair of Cloisonné jars with wooden bases

Holy Trinity blessing Niña Maria with Saint Joachim and Anne

Casa de Memoria, an international auction house that specializes in fine arts and antiquities, invites everyone to come on a journey to the Age of Exploration and expect nothing but timeless and adventurous pieces from its first auction for 2018—a collection of articles that evoke the romance of the golden age of trade and cultural exchange from the Orient, as well as exotic items from Africa and the New World. The auction will be on March 17, 2018, 2:00 PM onwards at their auction house located in 156 Jupiter corner Comet St., Barangay Bel Air, Makati City.

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