A RARE AND MASSIVE JAPANESE ELEPHANT KORO (INCENSE BURNER AND COVER)
EDO PERIOD, LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY
The large pachyderm depicted standing four-square, its head lowered and with its trunk curled to the right, a gentle expression on its face; the surface with an unctuous creamy white glaze with a blue tinge; with some remnants of cold-painted decoration, possibly depicting a beaded caparison; the cover with a double row of apertures for the smoke to escape; the underside of the cover and the animal inscribed with lines of calligraphy in kanji and katakana, possibly reading Kobayashi and Haruto XIX, 31cm x 38cm, 11.5kg. (2)
Provenance: an English private collection, Suffolk.
Early Japanese porcelain models of animals are very rare, and this elephant appears to be unrecorded. The names inscribed underneath may relate to worshippers donating the incense burner to a local temple, as seen with the Kakiemon model of a lion dog offered to the Sonobe Shinto shrine in 1692.
This elephant presents similarities with a rare and important early model of a deer from the collection of Lord and Lady Broughton, 3rd Baron Fairhaven of Anglesey in Cambridge, sold in these rooms on 6th June 2000, lot 335. Both animals feature similar thick, bluish glazes and deep firing faults.