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The Circulation of Enameled Objects between France and China (late 17th–mid-19th century) : Technological, Cultural, and Diplomatic Interaction

The objective of this Franco-Chinese program (2015-2020) is to propose a “symmetrical” history of the circulation of enameled objects and enamel technology between France and China from the end of the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. Enamel is the prime example of a technology that was originally European, whether it be cloisonné enamel, champlevé, or painted enamel, the practice of which moved from West to East in the wake of the objects. The present project consists of concurrent and interdisciplinary research conducted by an international, multidisciplinary team focused on all types of enameled objects, produced in France or in China, held in the collections of the Palace Museum, Beijing, and French museums. It will serve as well as an interface among all international researchers who are working on the circulation of technologies across the long distance between China and Europe. Integrated into a multidisciplinary approach (including physics, chemistry, history of technology, archaeology, experimentation, and social history), the work of these researchers prioritizes new textual, physical or chemical, and archaeological data.