Plique-a-Jour, noun

Plique-a-jour

Plique-a-jour is French for “letting in daylight.” It's a vitreous enameling technique, whereby the enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné but with no backing in the final product, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel. It's  very challenging technically, taking up to four months to produce a single item, with a high failure rate. It's not often used today, mainly due to break in transferring of skills between generations of jewelers. Tiffany (jewelry) and Bulushoff (tableware) still make a handful of products using the plique-à-jour technique.

The piece shown here is described as a “partial” plique-a-jour square bowl by Bonhams, the auction house offering it in its upcoming Fine Japanese and Korean Works of Art sale on Wednesday, September 14th in New York City. The bowl, handmade by Ando Jubei, carries a pre-sale estimate of $70,000-$90,000. Ando Jubei (1876-1953) was a Japanese cloisonné artist from Nagoya. His work is held in collections at the Walters Art Museum and the Ashmolean Museum, and the Ando Cloisonné Company continues the work he started. Visit www.bonhams.com.

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