An exceptional gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel caparisoned elephant Qing dynasty, Qianlong period | 清乾隆 掐絲琺瑯胡人騎象擺件
Property from a European private collection
An exceptional gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel caparisoned elephant
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period
the richly caparisoned elephant standing foursquare, its head turned towards the left, his foreign driver detailed with a curling beard and prominent brows
51 x 49 cm, 20 1/8 by 19 1/4 in.
Collection particulière européenne
Exceptionnel éléphant et son cornac en bronze doré et émaux cloisonnés, dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong
The figure is generally in good condition, in excellent presentation state. There are some expected occasional losses of enamels, some with small infills especially on the saddle carpet, and near the tail. The figure is also in good condition with nicely preserved enamels and gilding. The attribute that he was holding in his hands is missing. His belt is loose and there is a chip to one of the side of the knot at his waist. The tail of the elephant is also a little loose. All together quite an extraordinary piece in good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The Estate of Christian, Lady Hesketh,
Sold by Order of Her Executors, together with Property of the Trustees Of The 2nd Baron Hesketh’s Will Trust.
Sotheby’s, London, 7th March 2007, lot 71.
Christian, Lady Hesketh珍藏
倫敦蘇富比， 2007年3月7日， 編號71
The present group of cloisonné elephant supporting a foreign rider is a superb example of the high level of artistic and technical achievement of artists working in the imperial enamel workshop Zao Ban Chu located in the Forbidden City during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-96). The even and finely executed lines depicting the folds in the skin and the elaborate design on the howdah are testament to the excellence and the perfect control of manufacture of Qianlong cloisonné. The theme of riding an elephant is particularly auspicious because of the pun on the term qixiang (to ride an elephant), which sounds similar to jixiang (good fortune).
Compare a pair of large cloisonné enamel caparisoned elephant from the Qianlong reign, originally with Partridge (Fine Arts) Ltd, London, 1988, sold at Christie's London, 14th May 2013, lot 143. The taste for large cloisonné vessels enhanced by foreign figures during Qianlong's reign can also be seen in the monumental imperial cloisonné incense burner and cover, supported by two kneeling foreigners, sold at Sotheby’s Easton Neston Sale, 18th May 2005, lot 771 and more recently at Bonham's Hong Kong, 27th May 2012, lot 12. Cloisonné elephants with riders are extremely rare, although a group of elephant and two riders holding a kalasha was sold in our London rooms, 12th March 1982, lot 199.
對比一對乾隆年製掐絲琺瑯大象擺件作例，尺寸龐大，出自倫敦Partridge (Fine Arts) Ltd，1988年，售於倫敦佳士得2013年5月14日，編號143。另比一帶蓋香爐例，兩跪伏胡人高舉香爐，售於蘇富比Easton Neston拍賣2005 年 5 月 18 日，拍品 771 ，後易手於香港邦瀚斯2012 年 5 月 27 日，拍品 12，可見乾隆年間掐絲琺瑯器，以胡人造型顯示貴氣。掐絲琺瑯騎象擺件甚爲珍罕，唯可參考倫敦蘇富比出售一組作例，兩名騎象者手持寶瓶，售於1982 年 3 月 12 日，編號 199。