AN ART DECO 'LAQUE BURGAUTE' COMPACT
signed CARTIER, circa 1925
Rectangular, each side set with black lacquer panel with an inlaid design employing shaped iridescent mother-of-pearl and gold and silver foiled sections, each side depicting a Chinese maiden and objects, within an engraved and serrated border, opening to reveal a mirrored interior with covered compartment, in a fitted case.
Laque Burgaute refers to the exquisite East Asian technique of decorating lacquer with intricate inlays of tinted mother-of-pearl, often engraved and combined with gold and silver foil. The technique probably originated in China as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was very popular during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911/12) and spread to the Ryukyu Islands between China and Japan and then to Japan itself. In China, the technique is called 'lo tien' and in Japan 'aogai'. The Western name is derived from the French for sea-ear or mussel (burgau) and lacquer (laque or lac). Most of the lacquer used by Cartier in their Art Deco objects is likely to have been made in Ryuku or Japan.
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