Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 124, no. 261.
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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, Gallery S107
Figure of an Elephant
1736 - 1795
Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enameled decoration, gilding
55.2 x 34.2 x 25.4 cm (21 3/4 x 13 7/16 x 10 in.)
This large, cumbersome elephant is a relatively rare piece. The Chinese modeler transformed the huge, powerful beast into a fanciful, cartoon-like animal, seated in an improbable upright pose with flowers painted on its ears. Whimsical and novel objects of this type, imported from Asia in the 1700s, appealed to European collectors, who would probably never have seen a real elephant.