Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.11952
Kin-Te-Tchin vase, model by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, 1884
Width: 5'' ⅛ 13cm
Height: 15'' 38cm
Depth: 5'' ⅛ 13cm
This vase made out of porcelain and gilded bronze is a work from Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, and dates back from 1884. The artist was then the art director of the Manufacture de Sèvres (1875-1887), where the vase was realised.
This vase with a curved belly is covered with a dark blue enamel brighten by light blue runs, and is adorned in the upper part with two mascarons depicting chimeras holding a ring in their mouths. The neck as well as the base of the vase are assembled with gilded bronze covered in dark patina. The sober lines of the upper part are compensated by the acanthus leaves decoration in the bottom. This model of vase, called Kin-Te-Tchin, is an original form created by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, inventor of many imaginative models of vases or small sculptures during his time as the head of the Manufacture de Sèvres. His works had a real influence on decorative arts during the Second Empire, all the more given that he tried to reconcile art and industry.
The name Kin-Te-Tchin indicates a Chinese origin for this vase. It can be formally linked to the Fang Hu vase, massively produced in the Kin-Te-Tchin official ovens – the city is now called Jingdezhen in modern chinese – in order to imitate the Chinese archaic bronzes. Kin-Te-Tchin remained for a long time the Chinese porcelain capital, thanks to its technical perfection since the 14th century, in the translucency as well as in the brightness of its pieces. Another recurring source of inspiration for Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse is the Italian Renaissance repertoire, which might be the origin for the mascarons. The chimera was already part of the decorative patterns of the antique Etruria, and was greatly appreciated by the artists and designers from the 15th and the 16h century in Italy. Finally, the decoration, quite sober, is enriched by the acanthus leaves, reccuring elements of a classicism expressing itself in architecture as well as in decorative arts.
The runs on the upper layer of the ceramic were really fashionable during the 19th century : Chinese vases with runs were sought for their elegance, and often imported. The technic for runs was difficult to obtain for French and European manufactures, and was not mastered before 1884. The appearance of Kin-Te-Tchin vases is the corollary of the recent mastery of the method by the Manufacture de Sèvres. The main difficulties were to control the oxids on one hand, and the ovens on another. Indeed, the oxids are really sensitive and prompt to react to temperatures, atmospheres or to the fluxes’s nature, making the firing really uncertain and producing surprising results. Our vase is a paradigmatic example, by its controlled coloured gradation, of the virtuosity of Sèvres’s artists and workshops.
Our vase can be related to another example of Kin-Te-Tchin vase, now stored in the Musée des Arts décoratifs of Paris, on which is used a similar decoration. The latter is mentionned in Brigitte Ducrot’s book, "Second Empire & IIIe République : de l’audace à la jubilation."
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