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Our spirits dwell in the early spring of old China, amidst quince blossoms and new peonies. We find our home, however, in Northern California, and while buds are starting to swell on the magnolia trees and narcissus blooms are abundant, it is still too cold to sit in the grass and get lost in the warmth of a lazy afternoon. So, for now, we look to the dream walls of long ago and far away for the springtime images and warmth we crave.

What would our dream wall be?

The Han dynasty brought with it a new art form – hand-painted folding screens depicting scenes that transported the exquisite nature of birds and flowers to the interiors of palaces and houses of royalty. Romantic and decadent, their richly layered gold inlay and intricate imagery could warm up large, cold palace halls and their fame quickly spread. During the Age of Exploration the art form traveled by trade routes and Eastern expeditions, taking shape first in Japan and then westward across the continent. By the 18th century, beautifully painted screens and walls could be found throughout Western Europe, beginning the trend of Asian-inspired motifs and imagery found in Chinoiserie, and later in the Art Deco movement.

Walls like these have gone in and out of fashion, and are now experiencing some renewed attention. Our favorite places to shop and be inspired are the exquisite, hand-painted galleries of de Gournay, or vintage wallpaper websites like Secondhand Rose. If our offices had walls like these, we might not go home.

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