Figure of an Elephant

Object Details

Title:

Figure of an Elephant

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Chinese

Place(s):

China (Place created)

Date:

1736 - 1795

Medium:

Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enameled decoration, gilding

Dimensions:

55.2 x 34.2 x 25.4 cm (21 3/4 x 13 7/16 x 10 in.)

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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.

Bibliography

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.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 286, no. 497.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 168, no. 326.