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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 trefoil jade covered bowl. It entered the collection of Louis XIV between 1681 and 1684. 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 that are 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 a somewhat repetitive decoration of appliquéd enameled gold. On some vessels, the enameled gold appliqués were studded with precious stones and pearls, as in this trefoil jade covered bowl in the Louvre.

A trefoil bowl cut in jade

The wide, bulbous, trefoil form of this bowl is often found in the majolica of Urbino. Grotesque masks are sculpted on the front and back of the vessel. These anthropomorphic masks were still highly mannerist in style. The figures have flat, fleshy noses and lips, and hair represented by foliage. Two tenons on the sides served to attach the two handles. The lid, also trefoil in shape, is sculpted in bas-relief with ribbed scrolls and acanthus leaves. There is a tenon for the knob. The foot is flat and circular.

The mount

The vermeil mount comprises the rim of the lid, the base, and the central knop. These elements are embellished with appliquéed enameled gold in the shape of a white palmette surrounded by foliage in white, red, and translucent green enamel. The knob of the lid is in the shape of a small openwork vermeil vase decorated with four grotesque figures in light blue enamel, white enamel scrolls, and twelve rubies. Similar small vases can be seen on a portable altar by Ottavio Miseroni in Vienna. The scroll handles are decorated with winged female busts emerging from tapered pillars ending in dragon heads edged with dark blue enamel and gold.

Bibliography

Alcouffe Daniel, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001, p. 316-317.

Technical description

  • Covered jade bowl

    C. 1600

    Milan

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

    H. 22 cm; W. 33 cm

  • Former collection of Charles d’Albert, Duc de Luynes; entered the collection of Louis XIV between 1681 and 1684

    MR 188

  • Decorative Arts

    Denon wing
    1st floor
    Galerie d'Apollon
    Room 66

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