cloisonné (kloizənāˈ, –sənāˈ) [key], method of enamel decoration of metal surfaces, such as vases and jewel boxes. Metal filaments (which form the cloisons or separating elements) are attached at right angles to the surface outlining the design to be used. These miniature compartments are filled with colored enamel in paste form, and the object is then heated in order to fuse the enamel to the surface and develop its transparency and permanent colors. When finished, the enamel and cloisons are closely joined in a smooth, even surface showing the pattern in various colors defined by the metal partitions which prevented their fusing with one another. Probably invented in the Middle East, cloisonné has been highly perfected by the Chinese, the Japanese, and the French.
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