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HOME : Decorative Arts : Sculptures : Cloisonné Sculpture of an Ox and Cart
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Cloisonné Sculpture of an Ox and Cart - CK.0520
Origin: China
Circa: 17 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 11.5" (29.2cm) high x 20.5" (52.1cm) wide
Collection: Decorative
Medium: Enamel

Location: United States
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Jing Tai Lan (the Chinese for cloisonné) is a unique form of art that combines sculpture, painting, copper smithing and porcelain making. Its name originates from a careful pairing of “Jing Tai,” the name of a Ming dynasty emperor during whose reign mass production of such articles began, and “Lan,” meaning blue, which is the background color for most cloisonné goods. Cloisonné enamel techniques were originally brought from Persia to China’s Yunnan Province during the Yuan Dynasty. During the Ming dynasty, Persian techniques were then incorporated with the traditional, native techniques for metal inlaying and porcelain making, resulting in the birth of a new kind of cloisonné called Jing Tai Lan.

This figure of an ox and cart is elaborately decorated in multi-colored enamels with leafy interlacing scrolls bearing lotuses and floral motifs. Patterning varies from surface to surface though, with unique and vibrant yellow gourds that stem from the axle of the cart’s wheel, a window on the side of the cart itself, a lavish pair of lotuses on the front of the cart, and stunning abstract interlace on most other surfaces.

With regard to content, the cart itself tilts back at quite a severe angle and hooks on to a hump on the ox’s back. Serving as an umbrella for the cart and its wheels, a saddle-shaped roof – no less intricately decorated – tilts back in tandem. The ox is poised, still, with legs four-square. Its mouth slightly agape and eyes wide and human in condition. Small, novel horns point forward to the ox’s destination while its ears point backwards. The cart itself also appears to be a container, which would render the object functional as well as decorative.

Jing Tai Lan is one of the most exquisite cloisonné techniques in history, and as such, it is by far the most popular and sought-after type of cloisonné to be found. This rare and ornate piece is a must for collectors of Chinese art. - (CK.0520)


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