Figure of an Elephant
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Chinese, Qianlong reign, 1736 - 1795
Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration; gilding
H: 1 ft. 9 3/4 in. x W: 1 ft. 1 1/2 in. x D: 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.