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History of cloisonne


For those interested in the history of ancient metalworking, here is
the abstract of a paper being given soon in Basel, Switzerland, on a
very early example of cloisonne.

Judy Bjorkman

Gold Cloisonne from the Assyrian Colony Penad in Central

Turkey/Japan - Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology,
Kaman, Kirsehir

A unique example of a gold cloisonne object dating to the 19th c.
BCE was discovered in the Kaman-Kalehoyiik excavations in Central
Anatolia. The gold object (KL10-1) was unearthed in Room 409 that
has been identified as a workshop dating to the Period of the
Assyrian Trade Colonies by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian
Archaeology. Initial reconstruction reveals a lion rearing up on
its hind legs. A row of tubular stringing holes at top and
bottom, the empty cloisons, and the unchased gold surface suggest
an unfinished arm band, bracelet, or belt ornament. The gold is
0.5 mm thick and weighs 104 grams. The iconography and function
of the artifact as well as the analysis by XRF and other
techniques of the metal composition and method of manufacture
(hammering, casting, diffusion bonding or soldering to create the
cloisons) will be presented. Technological parallels of
contemporaneous Egyptian Middle Kingdom jewelry consist of a gold
cloisonne pectoral (ECM 1585) in the collection of Eton College
and gold plaque (Carter no. 585) from King Tutankhaman’s tomb.
Similar Assyrian iconographic motifs have been recovered in seals
at Kaman-Kalehoyiik. Such gold find is unparalleled in Central
Anatolia to date.


Wow! I had no idea that cloisonne was done that early. Got any pics
to go with that? -Jo

Wow! I had no idea that cloisonne was done that early. Got any
pics to go with that? 

Jo, since this was from an abstract of a paper to be
given in June, there are no pictures. In the abstract is the e-mail
address of the major author, Alice Paterakis [alicepaterakis at]. You could try contacting her in July, after the
conference, for a picture or for where the paper will be published.

Cloisonne was done even earlier, around 2500 BC. As P. R.S Moorey
says, “Already in the Ur royal tombs cloisons were soldered to a
base-plate to form cells for inlay on finger-rings…” (p. 229, in
Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries. primary references
there). A photo of silver hair ornaments from these tombs,
terminating in inlaid flowers, can be found on p. 106 of Treasures
from the Royal Tombs of Ur, edited by R. L. Zettler and Lee Horne.
At this early time, before the use of enamels, the inlays were
usually stone (lapis; carnelian) or shell.

Judy Bjorkman


Just a question from your description. How can inlaid stone work be
considered cloisonne? /are they not two different types of work? Now
I need further education on this.

Aggie the befuddled still in Orlando