Home > Asian Art, Chinese, International, Uncategorized > COROMANDEL SCREENS ANYONE??


Courtesy Metropolitan Museum


Many of us have seen, appraised, bought, sold so-called Coromandel screens. Chinese lacquer screens often with red, brown or black ground with large landscape and pavilions scenes and often scenes of dancers illustrating Ming dynasty and earlier theatrical dramas. We call the screens Coromandels screens but the term came into use only at the beginning of the 20th century. Coromandel because the screens were shipped from China via India’s Coromandel Coast of southeast India. In China the term for these screen was and is kuancai – meaning that the artisans hollowed out, carved and incised many layers of dried lacquer and filled in the gaps with colored lacquer or silver or gold. A time consuming technique.

Not much is written about Coromandel screens and this article in The Oriental Ceramic Society’s May 2018 Newsletter by HE Feng, a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University explains the history of these screens exported from China since the late 1700s.


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