A PAIR OF FAMILLE ROSE CAPARISONED ELEPHANTS
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ENGLISH COLLECTION
A PAIR OF FAMILLE ROSE CAPARISONED ELEPHANTS

QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A PAIR OF FAMILLE ROSE CAPARISONED ELEPHANTS
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
Each elephant is modelled standing foursquare with its head turned to one side, with bluish-ivory coloured tusks and the hide naturalistically marked in grey. Each wears colourful and gilt trappings, the saddlecloth is decorated with foaming waves below tasselled chimes, and each saddle bears a turquoise-ground flanged gu vase decorated with flowers.
10 ¾ in. (27.3 cm.) high
Provenance
With John Sparks, London, no. 3172.
From the collection of H.F.Parfitt.

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Cherrei Yuan Tian
Cherrei Yuan Tian

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Lot Essay

The imagery of an elephant carrying a vase represents the rebus taiping youxiang, which may be translated as 'may there be a peaceful reign'. This auspicious theme can be seen not only in porcelain like the present lot, but also in other media such as cloisonné enamels, metalwork, jades, and paintings.

A very similar pair of elephants dated to the 18th-19th century, also bearing flanged gu vases, was sold at Christie's New York, 21-22 March 2013, lot 1563. A pair of slightly smaller caparisoned elephants belonging to the Edward T. Chow Collection, bearing unflanged gu vases dating to the 19th century, were sold in Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 May 1981, lot 598.

Compare with an elephant in the Palace Museum, Beijing, attributed to the Qianlong period like the current lot, decorated in the same palette save for the saddle is illustrated in Yinliuzhai shuoci yizhu (Commentary on Porcelain from the Studio of Drinking Streams), Beijing, 2005, p. 450, fig. 9-43. A pair of closely related elephants can be found in the Copeland Collection, in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, is illustrated in W. Sargent, The Copeland Collection - Chinese and Japanese Ceramic Figures, Milan, 1991, pp. 196-97, no. 94.

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