A pair of antique porcelain mantle vases in the Empire style. The gilding on these vases is dazzling. The delicate band of flowers and the matte handles emphasize the mirror like quality of the gold.
Gilding involved using gold as pigment in paint: the artist ground the gold into a fine powder and mixed it with a binder. Then the gold was applied in the same way as paint. After gold-painting, the artist would heat the piece enough to melt the gold slightly, ensuring an even coat.