chi·​noi·​se·​rie | \ shēn-ˈwäz-rē How to pronounce chinoiserie (audio) , -ˈwä-zə-; ˌshēn-ˌwäz-ˈrē, -ˌwä-zə- \

Definition of chinoiserie

: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs also : an object or decoration in this style

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In 1670, King Louis XIV had the Trianon de Porcelaine erected at Versailles. It was a small structure-a pleasure house built for the king's mistress-and it was decorated with chinoiserie and faced with faience tiles with a blue and white chinoiserie pattern. The building persists in history as the first major example of chinoiserie-the English word is borrowed straight from French, which based the word on chinois, its word for "Chinese"-but the trend it began long outlasted the building itself, which was destroyed a mere 17 years later to make way for the Grand Trianon. Chinoiserie itself was popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and enjoyed a brief revival in the 1930s. And people still enjoy it today.

Examples of chinoiserie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another wall contrasts modern art with an antique chinoiserie cabinet brought from the couple's Montreal home. Sally Finder Weepie, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 July 2022 Check out the beadboard and fun blue chinoiserie wallpaper in the downstairs bath. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 25 May 2022 In a flowery bathroom, Sydney designer Greg Natale offset chinoiserie with geometric floor tile and marble veining. Yelena Moroz Alpert, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 This modern self portrait by Chuck Close is a bold contrast to the chinoiserie wallpaper (Iksel's Eastern Eden) behind it in this Miles Redd–designed home. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 13 Apr. 2022 The series' scenic artist even painted many chinoiserie pieces for the Sharma family sets. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, 25 Mar. 2022 So in America's early days as an English colony, colonists largely took style cues from the motherland—including a penchant for chinoiserie, especially among the elite. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, 14 May 2021 There are sumptuous classics made from cable knits or faux fur, as well as even more elevated designs, like the silk chinoiserie print offerings from The Beauty Sleeper. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 21 Oct. 2021 Artful pieces like a chinoiserie cocktail table can add a unique element of character to the room, so this piece remained in the library. Joe Fava,, 8 July 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chinoiserie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chinoiserie

1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chinoiserie

French, from chinois Chinese, from Chine China

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The first known use of chinoiserie was in 1883

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chinoiserie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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