Art création décoration

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History of papier mâché

This technique appeared in eleventh century in Occident. However, it already existed for a long time in Orient, pehaps since eighteenth century.


Chinese used it for example to mould helmets of warrior which were coved with lacquer.


Up to the fifteenth century, the objects realized with papier mâché were only sold on order. They were intended for aristocratic customers.


They exported in Europe by Portuguese and Dutch traders in eighteenth century. The English liked this kind of goods and they brought back in their country.


In seventeenth century, some profitable exchanges were founded with India, Japan and China.


But it was lacquer, covering the object made with papier mâché and giving a perfect polish which caused the more interest for the European.


This resin comes from a tree (Rhus Vernicifera). It was very difficult to copy for the European craftmen. At the end of seventeenth century, they improved some techniques to make "japonaiserie".


Papier mâché used by craftmen and industries to make art objects and furniture. In 1788, Charles Ducrest got a patent for the realization of houses, boats and other vehicles, made from papier mâché with a metallic or wood part.


This technique is exported towards USA in the nineteenth century. At the end of this century, the authorization was given to use old banknotes to make pulp of paper and realize some copies of buildings or american personnalities' chests.


At the beginning of twentieth century, (towards 1920), the fashion forgot papier mâché.

Jewels box

Box for jewels made of

papier mâché with decoration of painted flowers and inlaid

with mother of pearl. Napoléon III

Boîte en papier mâché réalisée vers 1800

Box in papier mâché 1800
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Licence Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

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