History and Techniques

ENAMELS.The chemical constituents are silica (sand), borates, alkalis (soda and potash), al- kalines (lime, magnesia, lead) and oxides of metals for coloring. Silica, the basis for all glasswork, melts and fuses into clear glass. There are four different types of enamel: opaque, opalescent, trans- lucent and transparent, but many gradations exist in between.  On a silver base the tone will be enhanced, whereas of copper or bronze no intensification in shading is perceived. Enamel can be applied to metal either in powdered form mixed with dis and gumnth or by brush or palette knife. Firing takes place in a kiln or furnace at temperatures between 650 and 850 degrees Centigrade ( 1200 – 1500 Fahrenheit). Then pieceis put on a plate, today, a ceramic or stainless-steel plate is used. Firing takes only a few minutes. The piece is then removed and allowed to cool gradually at room temperature. Awkwardly shaped articles that require especially cooling are placed on top of the furnace to cool down. Different colors are fired at varying temperatures, those that can withstand the greatest heat, such as brown, blue and green, being fired first. Certain pinks and turquoises are among the colors that require a lower firing temperature. The majority of enamel colors are changed by firing, so it is essential for the enameler to be able to visualize the inevitable transformation. Most enameling techniques demand multiple applications and firings, either to fill the cavities in partitioned metal to cover engraved decoration or to build up a background for painted surfaces In the case of painted enamels, up to twenty or more firings may be needed to achieve the desired result. Each time an object is fired, great care must be taken to protect already used colors from damage caused by overfiring.

Cloisonné (partitioned) enameling was the earliest method of all. The design is either scribed or indicated by punctures, or it can be drawn in ink onto a smooth metal surface. Cells, or cloisons, to contain the enamel, are formed by placing narrow strips of metal a right angles to the metal base, following the lines and intricacies o the pattern. The strips are either soldered into position or kept in place by a suitable adhesive. Enamel colors are placed within the cells and then fired.  Finally the surface, which will by now be uneven, is leveled. It is filed down  until smooth, fired and then polished, the top edges of the metal strips remain exposed. Then lending glit to the entire surface. The object can then be gilded so that all exposed metal areas retain a thin, untarnishable film of gold Champlevé (raised field) enameling followed cloisonné. Gold or silver is normally used for this technique and the reflection of light against the patterned background adds brilliance and beauty to the general effect Guilloché (engine-turned) surfaces are used for a type of bassetaille enameling.Chinese_-_Wine_Pot_-_Walter

珐琅有着悠久而迷离的历史。 尽管它的起源 和工艺至今仍是一个谜,人们却已在三千 年前的古希腊墓穴中发现了珐琅制品。很明显,虽经历漫长的历史珐琅工艺在技术方面变化甚微。且由于它技术的高难度和材料昂贵等原因,千百年来这门工艺一直停留在宫廷和教会等很小的范围里。直到十八世纪早期,技术的发展使它得以大规模生产,并且走进人们的日常生活。

Exactly how enameling was introduced into China is a vexed question. One theory holds that as the Mongols thrust westward during the thirteenth century, Byzantine and Persian ideas and Western artistic influences were fed back into China. The Chinese term for enamel is fa lan or fo-lang, from the Chinese name for Byzantium;

珐琅如何传入中国一直是个争论不休的问题。一种理论认为,十三世纪 蒙古人争战欧洲时,拜占庭和波斯文化正处于辉煌的鼎盛时期。珐琅就是那时拌随着西方文化和艺术一起进入中国。中文的珐琅一词(又称“佛郎” “法蓝“ “景泰蓝”)就是外来语 fa lan的音译词。且看元朝 (128o-1368 )及元以后,中国的景泰蓝作品无论工艺还是图案设计都与东罗马帝国和波斯的器皿非常相似。

另一种理论认为,唐代的丝绸之路才是东西方文化最早期的碰触。珐琅工艺也就在那时传入中国。可惜中国早期的艺术品很少有可靠的标记或题字揭示日期或王朝。这不仅是珐琅的状况,其他工艺像陶器、 漆器、 石刻也有同样问题。

Enamels Today In the Far East the mass production of replicas of enamels from centuries past continues apace and, in some instances, the standard of work approaches that of the original antique models apparent are artists experimenting with enameling Only in Japan, for creative contemporary design. From Norway to Venezuela, throughout Europe, creative enameling is flourishing, as countless exhibits in museums and art galleries testify.  Vast enameled steel murals and sculptures are making a striking contribution to modern architecture.

直到十五世纪中叶,中国搪瓷都是比较生动的、 朴素的、 简单的颜色。色调范围从 绿松石蓝到丹青蓝。十八世纪早期,玫瑰粉红色,被开发出来,使得珐琅质有了更多的设计, 更美丽的花饰。同时珐琅的光泽度平滑度也达到了更高的标准。明清两代,御用监和造办处均在北京设有专为皇家服务的珐琅作坊,技艺从成熟走向辉煌。 19世纪其技艺流入民间,成为“燕京八绝”之一. 并且逐渐扩散至各地,一度成为重要的手工业。但是由于工艺繁琐、成本很高,各地景泰蓝又纷纷消失。

今天在中国已经可以大规模生产景泰蓝。 从工艺到设计都完全复制着几百年前的明清宫廷景泰蓝。但从某种意义上说,能以标准珐琅的制作方法和原料制作出 古色古香经典珐琅作品的,当数日本. 同时日本的艺术家们在现代设计和技术革新方面也很卓越。

目前,珐琅彩制作技术最好的国家是法国,日本和美国。美国进年来制作无铅珐琅彩。 虽然色彩不如有铅的好。但它们更安全且成本低,很适合教学用。