Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Elephant-Shaped Kendi

Object Name:
second quarter 17th century
Iran, probably Kirman
Stonepaste; painted in shades of blue under transparent glaze
H. 9 1/8 in. (23.2 cm) W. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm) Diam. 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friends of the Department of Islamic Art Fund, 1968
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
This object in the shape of a seated elephant with cobalt blue and white designs is clearly modeled on a kendi, a type of Chinese drinking vessel. Unlike the Chinese originals, this Safavid example is made of stonepaste rather than porcelain and the elephant’s features are not as naturalistic.
Mrs. Silvana Aliati Elliot, Milan (until 1968; sold to MMA)
Ettinghausen, Richard. "Reports of the Departments: Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 28, no. 2 (1969). pp. 79-81, ill. p. 80 (b/w).

Bowie, Theodore Robert. "An Exhibition Prepared by Theodore Bowie." In Islamic Art Across the World. Vol. no. 1970/3. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum, 1970. no. 208.

Welch, Anthony, ed. Shah 'Abbas and the Arts of Isfahan. New York: Asia House Gallery, 1973. no. 82, pp. 115,119, ill. p. 115 (b/w).

Carswell, John. "Catalogue of an exhibition at David and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago." In Blue and White: Chinese Porcelain and Its Impact on the Western World. University of Chicago: University of Chicago, 1985. no. 84, pp. 144-145, ill. p. 144 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 156, pp. 230-231, ill. p. 230 (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 216-217, ill. pl. 44 (color).

Related Objects

Dish with Two Intertwined Dragons

Date: ca. 1640 Medium: Stonepaste; painted in blue under transparent glaze Accession: 65.109.2 On view in:Gallery 462

Bottle Depicting Storks in Blue and Yellow on a White Background

Date: 17th century Medium: Stonepaste; polychrome painted under transparent glaze Accession: 14.64.3 On view in:Gallery 458

Bottle with Flying Cranes

Date: 1650s Medium: Stonepaste; polychrome painted under transparent glaze Accession: 14.64.2 On view in:Gallery 462

Dish with Floral Designs

Date: 1670s Medium: Stonepaste; polychrome painted under transparent glaze Accession: 91.1.92 On view in:Gallery 462

Vase-technique Carpet with Overlapping Cartouches

Date: 17th century Medium: Cotton (warp), silk (weft), wool (weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile Accession: 56.185.1 On view in:Gallery 462