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What is Chinoiserie?

Chinoiserie is a western European style of decorative art that first began appearing in the 17th century and has persisted in popularity to this day. It shares many elements with French rococo style such as heavy use of ornamentation or decoration, stylized nature, gilding, and overall extravagance. However, the most signature quality is the use of fantasized imagery derived from European interpretations of life, art, and culture in pre-industrial China.

The style became widely popular in the 18th century largely as a by-product resulting from increased trade in Europe with China and east Asia. Fascination with the eastern world reached a peak during this time, which from a western perspective was viewed as exotic and unexplored creative ground.

How to Pronounce Chinoiserie?

People who are unfamiliar with the term are often curious about the correct pronunciation. Originating from the French word “Chinois”, which translates literally to “from China”, phonetically it sounds like “chin” - “wah” - “zerie”. For English speakers, there is a tendency to see the word “noise” (like a loud or unpleasant sound) in the spelling of Chinoiserie when it is read. This is likely what leads to its most common mispronunciation.

Interior Design

Within interior design circles in the US, there have been prolonged periods in which Chinoiserie was extremely popular. From the 19th century to the later 1920s, it was very favored among the elite for its highly ornate and sometimes over the top aesthetic. It saw a resurgence in the 80s and 90s, and now seems to be in favor again, though some would argue that it never fell out of favor. Regardless of opinion or taste, it is a style that has stood the test of time and has transcended trends and fads.

Chinoiserie design motifs can be seen in everything from wallpaper, upholstery, fine china, ceramics, and even furniture. Imagery like idyllic rural Chinese landscapes, pagodas, traditional courtyards, and dragons are commonly featured. For more examples of Chinoiserie furniture, Chinoiserie porcelain, and other asian home decor, browse our featured sections below.

Other Common Decor Elements

Porcelain planters, jars, and vases decorated in classic blue and white motif are accents that seem timeless and are a natural fit for those with Chinese taste. Often featuring elaborate hand painted details, these fragile works of art can be mixed and matched to produce a charming focal point. Combine with your favorite floral arrangments for an even more striking effect.

chinoiserie blue and white decor

Figurines and statues of foo dogs have long been a classic (and subtle) way to invite an east Asian element into a space. They can be purchased in several styles, poses, materials, and colors to fit your needs. They also carry with them symbolic appeal, regarded as guardians that prevent harmful things from happening to the family. See more from our selection of Foo Dog decor.

For a bolder approach, Chinoiserie wallpaper can create a rich color palette and chic environment. There is no end to the wide variety of designs and different types of imagery available so the only boundary is your individual creativity.

red chinoiserie floor screen

Hand painted floor screens are a common Chinoiserie decorative element.

chinoiserie secretaire desk

Elaborate and ornate decoration is a hallmark of Chinoiserie furniture.

foo dogs figurines

Chinoiserie Furniture

Our collection of Chinoiserie furniture features lavish gold accents and hand painted landscapes set on either red or black matte. Browse floor screens, sideboards, desks, vanity cabinets, and more.

Chinoiserie Scenery 6 Panel Oriental Floor Screen with Spring Festival Scene

6 Panel Spring Festival Floor Screen

Red Queen Anne Chinoiserie Scenery Motif Accent Chair

Red Chinoiserie Scenery Motif Accent Chair

Chinoiserie Scenery Motif Jewelry Armoire

Chinoiserie Scenery Motif Jewelry Armoire

Chinoiserie Ceramics

Our store features one of the largest collections of blue and white porcelain and other chinese decor available on the web. Browse figurines, planters, vases, bowls, and more.

Blue and White Porcelain Qing Emperor Set

Blue and White Porcelain Qing Emperor Set

Blue and White Porcelain Temple Vase

Blue and White Porcelain Temple Vase

Blue and White Porcelain Peony Motif Fishbowl Planter

Blue and White Porcelain Peony Fishbowl Planter

Double Happiness Elephant Set

Double Happiness Elephant Set

Blue and White Chinese Porcelain Monkey Holding Lotus Dish

Porcelain Monkey with Holder

Blue and White Porcelain Floral Motif Basin

Floral Motif Basin

Foo Dogs - Statues and Figurines

Each set is hand crafted with intricate attention to detail. Choose from small porcelain figurines, or large scale stone and marble statue sets.

Blue Peking Temple Foo Dog Oriental Figurine Set

Porcelain Blue Peking Foo Dogs

Yellow Porcelain Chinese Foo Dog Set

Yellow Porcelain Foo Dogs

Chinese Temple Iron Foo Dog Set

Chinese Temple Iron Foo Dogs

Imperial White Marble Chinese Foo Dogs Statues

White Marble Foo Dog Statues

Silver Plated Foo Dog Oriental Figurine Set

Silver Plated Foo Dogs

Red Porcelain Standing Chinese Foo Dog Set

Red Porcelain Foo Dogs

Date Published:

Publisher: China Furniture and Arts Enterprises Inc. China Furniture Logo