Friday, 24 April 2009

Oriental exotica

With the current fashion for Japanese woodblock prints (check out the Kuniyoshi exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts), the resurgence of interest in Japanese kimonos and a renewed interest in Oriental style jewellery, accessories and homewares, it seems that our fascination with everything from the East is still as alive it was in the late 19th and early 20th century.

At ShopCurious, we’ve got some original 1930s Oriental-inspired pieces that look just as stylish today as they did all those years ago. There’s a wonderful mint condition vintage black satin handbag with fine quality Chinoiserie embroidery (see below left).

Chinoiserie, by the way, is the term used for the fashion for Chinese themes in decoration in Western Europe which began as early as the late 17th century, much earlier than Japoneries – the fashion for everything Japanese, which took off from around 1860.

Chinese style furnishings often feature Chinoiserie designs, or beautifully carved jade, like this fabulous lamp base (above right) – something totally unique and authentic that would add character and sophistication to any room.

We’ve also got some modern furnishings and tableware with a distinctly Eastern vibe. These curiously cool leather pouffes, (right and below left) from Buba are beautifully encrusted with Japanese glass beads and colourful crystals – plus they’re tried, tested and very comfortable to sit in too. Perfect for lounging around this summer...

You could even take one of these outside to enjoy the sunshine - it’s as full of Eastern promise as Fry’s Turkish Delight! In fact you might even be sufficiently inspired to buy an exotic tented canopy, like the ones in the iconic 1960s Fry's advert shown here (click on link to view).

If you’re not feeling quite that exotic, how about these unusual, yet understated Ming design placemats, with hand painted traditional blue and white illustrations based on original Ming art, by Norfolk based artist, Stephanie Douet?

More about Stephanie later - plus some of her more curious Chinoiserie creations ... definitely worth waiting for.

Will you?

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