A special exhibition featuring porcelain enamel products by renowned Chinese artisan Zhang Tonglu closed June 9 at the Windsor Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Called "Royal Treasure," the show included world famous works by the 70-year-old master of the technique of copper padding thread weaving enamel, dating back to Chinese Ming Dynasty's Jingtai Emperor (1428 1457), yet lost until 200 years ago. Tonglu sparked yet another revival in the art several years ago.
Exhibits included the Auspicious Ram Lamp, which was awarded the Grand Prize at events marking the 100th anniversary of The Paris Exposition of 1900 and was exhibited at the Louvre for six months the same year; the Great Perfection Chronographs, which were collected for studies by the Palace Museum in Beijing.
His works have been selected as national treasures and become part of the permanent collection of the China National Arts and Crafts Museum, the Beijing Fine Arts Gallery, and the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Zhang Tonglu was born in 1942 and lived close to the Donghua Gate of the Forbidden City, Beijing. Since he was five, he started to teach himself painting. One of his fellow villagers who was at the time a guard for the Forbidden City had allowed the young Zhang Tonglu, at an age when the royal city was literally forbidden to the public, into the City, so that Zhang was able to copy and paint rare paintings in the royal collection.
After that, he became especially good at the style and colors of the royal art, which paved the way for him to become a man of the cloisonné art, in turn preparing him for the revitalisation of the brilliance of the royal pinched wires enamel cloisonné.