January 27th, 2019

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Chinoiserie

chinoiserie [sheen-wah-zuh-ree]
1. A decorative style in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century, characterized by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques.
1.1. Chinoiserie objects or decorations


Recently I planned a small boudoir in a country house that depended on a gay Chinoiserie paper for its charm. (Elsie de Wolfe, The House in Good Taste)

Garner shows a Lambeth mug embodying this style of decoration combined with a suggestion of Chinoiserie around the waist. (C Malcolm Watkins, The Cultural History of Marlborough, Virginia)

... and of course coms visual examples.


In 1670, King Louis XIV had the Trianon de Porcelaine erected at Versailles. It was a small structure-a pleasure house built for the king's mistress-and it was decorated with chinoiserie and faced with faience tiles with a blue and white chinoiserie pattern. The building persists in history as the first major example of chinoiserie-the English word is borrowed straight from French, which based the word on chinois, its word for "Chinese"-but the trend it began long outlasted the building itself, which was destroyed a mere 17 years later to make way for the Grand Trianon. Chinoiserie itself was popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and enjoyed a brief revival in the 1930s. And people still enjoy it today. (Merriam Webster)