"cloisonne saucers full of butts"
Ming dynasty Cloisonne bowl
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMing dynasty Cloisonne bowl - Credit: pschemp

Cloisonné is a type of enamel decoration for metalwork. Metal wire is attached to the surface of the object to form little compartments (cloisons in French) which are then filled with enamel paste and kiln-fired.

The technique originated in the Ancient Near East; examples of early cloisonné work have been found in sites dating from Ancient Egyptian times. In the earliest examples, precious gemstones were used instead of enamel. The earliest use of enamel occurs around 1100 BC. It was often used in Byzantine decoration.

Cloisonné spread from Byzantium via the Middle East to China; the Chinese style of cloisonné soon became famous. In Russia, cloisonné was used by the jewellers Fabergé in their famous eggs.