In the late Nineteenth Century, Western artists and designers became fascinated with “The Orient”—both the Near and Far East, which were increasingly opening-up to Europeans. Western artists looked to Asian design for inspiration and, after re-interpreting the look through European eyes, produced “Orientalist” designs: paintings, ceramics, sculpture jewelry, and fashion. Impressionist artists painted in a deliberately Japanese manner or used Asian clothing and props to decorate their compositions. European ceramicists copied Chinese and Japanese pottery and struggled to replicate the elusive red glaze—which the Chinese had mastered centuries earlier.
The enameled cufflinks above, though diminutive, have a strong Orientalist sensibility. They were made in late Victorian England, around 1890 or 1900. They would allow their wearer—perhaps at a dinner party or the opera—to have a little Oriental flair and signal his interest in far-off, exotic locales.
These cufflinks are part of a newly-acquired collection of cufflinks, now in-store. Please come by the shop to see the full collection.
More cufflinks tomorrow.