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Figure of an Elephant with Two Miniature Vases

Asian Art

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
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    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
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    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%)
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