15.6.12

Japanese Shoji Screens

In Asian d├ęcor in the east and west an item called a Japanese Shoji Screen is used as either a room divider or a form of decoration. A Japanese Shoji Screen is a room divider or door that is made up of rice paper fitted to a wooden frame and are made to be light so as it is easy to move them. These screens can be considered works of art because, as with all Japanese art, these screens were built from the earth’s natural beauty. A Shoji screen was used as doors, room dividers, and as privacy screens. Folding screens, like the Shoji Screen, was first introduced by China around the 8th century A.D. China might have invented folding screens but it was Japan who came up with the most popular variations of these screens and introduced them to western countries.
Japanese Shoji screens come in different sizes and each size may serve a different purpose. The use of the screen determined how many folds the screen had. The following list is some of the different sizes of Shoji Screens and what they were traditionally used for:
• Small, two-fold, Shoji screens: these screens were used for things like tea ceremonies.
• Large, eight-fold, Shoji Screens: These screens may have been used as the back drops during dances.
• Sliding Shoji Screens of all sizes were used for doors and/or windows, so as to conserve space and keep with the simplistic designs.
• All sizes and forms of Shoji Screens were used as room dividers, privacy screens, to separate interior and exterior rooms, and even used so as to see the silhouettes of a garden or plants.
• These screens were even used during Buddhist ceremonies.
Traditional Japanese Shoji Screens may have had artwork on them, symbolizing the many Asian and/or Japanese traditions, legends, and the history. This artwork was concentrated at the bottom of the screens because it was customary that people would sit on the floor, so, naturally the artwork was at eyelevel. The art was usually hand painted, and detailed, but still minimal in design, because, all of Japanese art revolves around being simple, natural, and calming
Around the 19th century, the western world began to take notice of the Japanese Shoji Screens, thus began the modernization of the screen. As the demand of Shoji Screens grew more people, who were not as skilled in creating screens, started making them in Japan. The Shoji Screens were still elegant and still had the Japanese design, but were becoming more like Chinese screens. Newer materials and more ornate colors are now used to make these screens because the western world is more relaxed when it comes to the decoration of ones home. Japanese Shoji screens are still used as room dividers, but, they are also used to decorate spaces, to hide things, and maybe be used as window covers. The modern form of Shoji Screens are still very light as to allow them to be moved whenever needed.

14.6.12

Mixing Styles With Country French Antiques

France is known for its innovation in style and fashion in every century. French antiques mark as being highly decorative, elaborate and ostentatious. Great emphasis was placed on decoration and display.
Historically, true French Provincial antiques blended with the farmhouse styles found within different regions of France. This blending became known as French Country Style. Certainly, French Country Style is not a particular period style. Many persons familiar with French antiques have difficulty relating it historically. However, within the design of Country French antiques there are elements of the following periods: a) the Medieval Period; b) the Restoration Period, and the c) Neoclassical Period.
These elements are so well blended that you probably will not recognize each element of style individually. The style becomes original in leaving you with French Country Style. The style represents the farming life of the peasants of France. It later became popular with the middle income earners. In summing up French Country Style furniture, you may say it is a blending of furniture designs from various eras. However, the lines are much more simplistic, the woods more durable and the overall color is lighter.
Country French antique furniture consisted both the sophisticated furniture made in Paris for the royalty, aristocrats and the rich upper bourgeoisie on one hand, and French provincial furniture made in towns that retained the local cultural identity. The rural France had artisans who made furniture that spoke of rural culture and this remained unbroken until the advent of railroads in the mid nineteenth century. All French antique furniture is renowned for its refinement and rich materials and fetches premium prices in auctions.
There was a revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth century manufacturing industries. An augmented production of furniture increased the popularity of furniture warehouses around the world. The pieces of furniture to gain popularity during these times were tables, commodes, armoires and Chandeliers. French antique furniture can be broadly divided into Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classical revival, rustic and modern periods.
Country French antiques had a highly developed art of wood carving with a conspicuous and ornamental decorations that represent unique Renaissance period. This can be contrasted to the Italian antique furniture that contained more delicate and intricate lace.
Country French antiques may be considered a good option. They are an assemblage of many antique styles, have interesting history, and are ideal for family life. Tables for the kitchen, hutches, and armoires are classic French Country Style items. Due to its history and broad family appeal, French Country antique is a popular choice amongst persons seeking home-style antique furniture.