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Meissen Group of the Sultan riding on the back of an Elephant with a Blackamoor Figure

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Dates Circa 1820
Origin Germany
Description An important and extraordinary Meissen group of the Sultan riding on the back of an elephant with a blackamoor figure holding an ankus, or goad, and wearing a short loincloth at the elephant's head.
The Sultan sits grandly on a gilt-tasselled white cushion, which is on top of an elaborately gilded, patterned turquoise-tasselled coverlet. He wears a white, jewelled turban with a purple feather. His blue coat is over a purple and gold-patterned flowing robe with gilded buttons. Yellow pantaloons peep through the base of the tunic. On his feet are orange slippers. He rests against a large grey cushion at the back of the elephant. In his left hand, he holds aloft a sceptre with a gilded crescent moon. The Blackamoor, or Mahout, has a yellow-patterned loincloth and lies across the elephant’s head with his ankus, or goad, in his left hand.

The model was designed around 1743. It was sometimes paired with a matching sultana on an elephant or another sultan on a rhinoceros.

The group after the model by J.J. Kaendler and Peter Reinicke.

Traces of two crossed swords in underglaze blue to one of the underside of the elephant’s foot.

Height: 26cm, Length: 28cm.

Condition Please ask for condition report.
Literature Rainer Rückert Meissner Porzellan 1719-1810, catalogue of the exhibition in the Bayerichen Nationalmuseum, ed. Hirmer verlag München,1966.p.263
n°1060 & 1061 p.191(text)
For two other examples of this model: Ansbach Residenz, Germany.

A.L. den Blaauwen, Meissen Porcelain in the Rijksmuseum, p.411. p.412,
For a model with a clock is dated to 1740-50: The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a Meissen porcelain "Elephant with Sultan and African" group mounted in a French clock case. In the course of his cataloguing, Abraham den Blaauwen took the trouble to list all the versions of the spectacular porcelain object known to him: in the Dresden Porcelain Collection, in Ansbach Palace, in the Bern Historical Museum, in the Frankfurt Museum of Decorative Arts, in the Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, in Wilhelmsthal Palace Kassel, in the Hermitage St. Petersburg and in Waddesdon Manor. Numerous other pieces have also been auctioned, including one at Lempertz Cologne Auction 641, Jahn Collection, on 12th June 1989, lot 198.

A.von Wallwitz, Meissen – Porcelain for Gentleman, ‘On dating Meissen Elephants' - for a discussion on this group, p.p.105-115

In the Meissen archives under Kändler’s lists in his Feirerabendarbeit (work sheets), Einen groszen Elephanten BA IAa 28, p. 80): A large elephant is cited. His assistant Peter Reincicke also refers to a large elephant, but without figures in his February-March 1741 work sheets.

In the registers for the Paris marchand mercier Lazare Duvaux, there is noted: en janvier 1752 "un éléphant de porcelaine de Saxe portant une figure – 216 l"