China’s historical aesthetic universe remains a strong influence in the lifestyle, culture and arts today. Beyond the walls of China, Chinese inspirations are found in trends, architecture together with craftsmanship across the world, dating as early as the 20th century.

According to Cartier, it was a time when China opened its doors and a flood of treasures arrived in the West. But these treasures are solely reserved for nobility and scholars.

The widespread fascination of the public to the designs and concept of Chinese art encouraged Cartier to respond to the ever-growing demand.

Here are some of the things that was popular in the West in early 1900’s!

Carp clock with retrograde hand –  1925

The jade carps are Chinese in origin, dating from the nineteenth century. In China, the carp is appreciated for its courage and tenacity, allowing it to swim upstream and change into a dragon. The carp clock is made of a piece of carved ancient jade depicting two fish swimming in the waves.

2 Bridge case – 1927

The case is unique as it is decorated using lacquer plaques inlaid with mother-of-pearl in graphic lines underline in gold. This method of decoration can be seen in vanity cases, powder cases and vases. The depicted item is actually sold to a member of the Rothschild family!

Chinese vanity case inspired from porcelain plate – 1928

The inlaid plaque of the vanity case was made by the Cartier workshop based on a Chinese plate of famille-verte porcelain plate from the Kangxi period (1662–1722). The plate from the Qing dynasty depicts a wucai figure decorative painting.

4 Large Screen clock -1926

Inspired by the study screens of ancient Chinese scholars, the Screen clock is made of an ancient engraved white jade plaque decorated with an enamelled dragon on the back.

5 Tortoise table clock – 1928

This tortoise in this delicate antique table clock represents a symbol of long life. The opening of the shell of the tortoise’s back reveals a dial inlaid with mother-of-pearl, lapis-lazuli and turquoise.

Fast forward to today, the long-standing friendship and story between Cartier and China has benefited the exhibition with the Palace Museum in presenting a special collection of these ancient treasures.

Check out other cultural keepsakes and artefact at “Beyond Boundaries” exhibition in the Palace Museum.

Beyond Boundaries: Cartier and The Palace Museum Craftsmanship and Restoration Exhibition

Date: Now till 31 July 2019
Opening horus: 8.30am to 5pm (ticket concession will be closed at 4pm)
Venue: Meridian Gate, The Palace Museum, Beijing, China

Edited by Jessy Wong • Photo by Cartier 

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