Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Bust of a Man

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux French

Not on view

Carpeaux sculpted this bust after a living person during his preparations for his monumental fountain sculpture, The Four Parts of the World, as he did with Why Born Enslaved! While Carpeaux has carefully modeled the features of his sitter, the bust’s title, Le Chinois (The Chinese Man), transforms this unknown individual into an idealized "type," or stand-in for an entire people. Indeed, Asia was ultimately represented by a lifesize female figure in the final version of the fountain sculpture. The Atelier Carpeaux, a studio established to reproduce the artist’s work, released this bust in commercial editions, in response to a growing interest in ethnographic sculpture. At the same moment that this dignified representation proliferated in elite European interiors, Chinese workers in the French West Indies labored under coercive contracts intended to facilitate the continued production of sugar after the abolition of slavery.

Bust of a Man, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, Valenciennes 1827–1875 Courbevoie), Bronze, French

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.