Sultan Riding an Elephant

Johann Joachim Kändler, Artist Peter Reinicke, Artist Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Manufacturer
On View

in

Fashionable Living, Level 3, South Wing

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About the Artwork

As the first European factory to develop a formula for Chinese hard-paste porcelain, the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory near Dresden earned a reputation for exquisitely modeled and delicately painted sculpture. This was due in great part to the imaginative and complex figural designs of modeler Johann Joachim Kändler, court sculptor to Frederick-Augustus I of Saxony (Augustus the Strong). Every detail of the Sultan Riding an Elephant is rendered with impeccable precision. The dignified demeanor of the sultan—from the red peak of his jeweled turban to the turned-up toe of his yellow shoes—projects a majesty beyond the small scale of the work. The energetic form of his driver, perched on the head of the compliant elephant, enlivens the ensemble. The gilded details and the Parisian-made mid-18th century ormolu (gilded bronze) scroll-work base add richness to a subject that would appeal as much for its whimsy as its evocation of the exotic and glamorous East. From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)

Sultan Riding an Elephant

ca. 1749

Johann Joachim Kändler (Artist) German, 1706-1775 Peter Reinicke (Artist) German, 1715-1768 Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Manufacturer) German, founded 1710

Hard-paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold; bronze, gold

Overall: 15 3/8 × 14 1/2 × 8 7/8 inches (39.1 × 36.8 × 22.5 cm)

Ceramics

European Sculpture and Dec Arts

Museum Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Gilbert B.and Lila Silverman, and the Visiting Committee for European Sculputure and Decorative Arts

2004.11

This work is in the public domain.

Markings

Marks, in underglaze blue, under elephant's belly: [crossed swords]

Provenance

1990, M. Raymond Esq. (Belchamp Hall, Suffolk, England)

July 4, 1996, sold by (Christie's, London, England) lot 247 (By 2003, Angela Gräfin von Wallwitz, Munich, Germany)

2004-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

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Exhibition History

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Published References

Gräfin von Wallwitz, A., ed. Meissen Porcelain for Gentlemen. Munich, 2005, St. 416, p. 172; pp. 114-115 (ill.).

Darr, Alan. P. and Brian Gallagher. "Recent acquisitions (2000-2006) of European sculpture and decorative arts at The Detroit Institute of Arts." The Burlington Magazine 149, no. 1251 (June 2007): p. 451, pl. VII (ill.).

You, Yao-Fen. “From Novelty to Necessity: The Europeanization of Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate.” In Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Consuming the World, ed. Yao-Fen You, Mimi Hellman, and Hope Saska. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2016, p. 27 (ill.); 29; 131, cat. 16.

Bulletin of the DIA: Notable Acquisitions, 2000–2015 89, no. 1/4 (2015): p. 28 (ill.).

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Catalogue Raisoneé

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Credit Line for Reproduction

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory; after a model by Johann Joachim Kändler; after a model by Peter Reinicke, Sultan Riding an Elephant, ca. 1749, hard-paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold; bronze, gold. Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Gilbert B.and Lila Silverman, and the Visiting Committee for European Sculputure and Decorative Arts, 2004.11.

Sultan Riding an Elephant: Main View of Collection Gallery
Sultan Riding an Elephant: 1 of Collection Gallery Sultan Riding an Elephant: 2 of Collection Gallery

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Sultan Riding an Elephant
Sultan Riding an Elephant