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Covered jade bowl

© 1992 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Decorative Arts
Renaissance

Author(s):
Barbier Muriel

Milan was a major center for the production of semiprecious stoneware throughout the 16th century. The Crown collection of precious and semiprecious stoneware included many Milanese objects, such as this jade covered bowl. The stone is cut with ornamental motifs characteristic of the late 16th century, such as grotesque masks, and is set off by a gilded silver mount studded with precious stones.

Milanese production in the late 16th and early 17th centuries

Certain late 16th-century mounts feature elements in enameled gold similar to earlier creations. This type of mount disappeared in the early 17th century. Other mounts, however, were made up of elements of gilded silver, sometimes including enameled gold. These featured somewhat repetitive appliquéd enameled gold ornamentation. On some vessels, the enameled gold appliqués were studded with precious stones and pearls, as is the case with this jade covered bowl.

The stone

The bowl with a lid takes the form of a nef, or boat-shaped centerpiece. Like the bowl OA 38, it features two sculpted masks. At the front, a grotesque mask forms the spout, similar those of the bowls OA 38 and MR 147. At the back, a lion mask appears to bite the lid. Two tenons on the long sides served to attach the handles. The lid, sculpted with a wide, covering acanthus leaf, has a central knob.

The mount

The gilded silver mount comprises the outer edge of the lid, the central knop on the stem, and the base. It is very similar to that of the bowl MR 188. Around the edge of the lid, eight rubies are arranged on translucent enamel quatrefoils alternating with white enamel petals and foliage in opaque white, black, green, and translucent red enamel. On the knop, four rubies and four pearls stand out on a translucent green quatrefoil. We know that the handles took the form of dragons, probably resembling those of the chromo-jadeite bowl kept in Vienna. Enameled gold ornamentation and grotesque animal motifs were enduring characteristics of mannerism.

Bibliography

Alcouffe Daniel, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001, p. 314-315.

Technical description

  • Covered jade bowl

    C. 1600

    Milan

  • Mount: gilded silver, enamelled gold, rubies, pearls

    H. 20 cm; W. 34 cm

  • Entered the collection of Louis XIV between 1684 and 1701

    MR 186

  • Decorative Arts

    Denon wing
    1st floor
    Galerie d'Apollon
    Room 66

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