Collections: Asian Art: Figure of an Elephant with Two Miniature Vases

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Snuff Mortar (Tesa Ya Ma Kanya)

The figure forming the stopper of this snuff container can be identified as a chief by the elaborate headdress, or mutwe wa kaynda, he wears...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Box in the Form of a Leopard's Head

    This box was used to hold kola nuts presented to visitors in the royal court of Benin. Leopards are one of the most commonly portrayed anima...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    09.633a-c_front_PS2.jpg 09.633a-c_back_PS2.jpg

    Figure of an Elephant with Two Miniature Vases

    • Medium: Cloisonné enamel on copper alloy
    • Place Made: China
    • Dates: 18th century
    • Dynasty: Qing Dynasty
    • Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 4 1/2 in. (30.5 x 17.8 x 11.4 cm) elephant: 5 x 7 x 4 1/2 in. (12.7 x 17.8 x 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 09.633a-c
    • Credit Line: Gift of Samuel P. Avery
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Figure of an Elephant with Two Miniature Vases, 18th century. Cloisonné enamel on copper alloy, 12 x 7 x 4 1/2 in. (30.5 x 17.8 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Samuel P. Avery, 09.633a-c. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: front, 09.633a-c_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
    • Catalogue Description: Rather small figure of an elephant bearing two miniature vases topped by a crown on its back. The animal is standing with its head turned to the right and with a large saddle blanket and bejeweled trappings. The first vase, securely fastened to the elephant's back, has a rather low foot, an ovoid body with high shoulders, and a medium sized neck with a concave outline. The second vase is of a double gourd shape, each body globular and the neck rather low, of medium width, and also concave in outline. The crown is in the shape of a concave plaque with a hollow depression in the center, from the underside of which projects a short tube. This is used to hold the crown in place. Copper, gilded on the rims and on certain parts of the elephant's anatomy and trappings. The rest of the outside surface is covered with cloisonné enamels. The elephant is a dirty white, streaked by the long undulating lines of the cloisons. His ears are pink. The trappings are in red, pink, dark blue and green. The large blanket, which has a gilt fringe, is decorated with a central panel containing sacred isle, wave, cloud, and swastika patterns, and is framed by a wide border of lotus scrolls. A smaller pad on top of this has a honeycomb design. The lower vase is patterned with lotus scrolls, ju i head and stiff leaf borders. The upper vase has two medallions on each side containing the characters ta chi, meaning great good fortune, set on a ground of lotus scrolls bordered by false gadroons. The crown has an outer fringe of bats, cut in openwork and enameled red, white, and green, and an inner border of false gadroons. The center depression is gilded. The colors of the enamel are dark blue, two shades of green, yellow, red, pink, and white, and the ground is usually turquoise. The surface of the enamel is pitted. The upper vase and the crown are now separate from the outer part. The lower vase is filled with some dark sticky substance.
    • Record Completeness: Good (75%)
    advanced 110,591 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.