Perfume fountain comprised of three unrelated pieces of Chinese blue and white porcelain, each decorated with floral elements, set in gilt-bronze mounts; the main porcelain body baluster shaped and decorated at the shoulder with four pierced fu dog elements that hold chains in their mouths; these chains are attached to four detachable gilt-bronze spouts in the shape of dolphin heads, which have been inserted into the lower body; the porcelain cover is surmounted by a reclining fu dog with a gilt- bronze collar with chain attached to the body of the fountain; the lower part of the fountain is comprised of the third piece of porcelain, the cover of an object inverted and attached to the bottom of the main body with a gilt-bronze band; attached to this band are four cabriole legs with masks and stylized foliage at the knees and hoof feet that rest on block bases.

Perfume Fountain

Porcelain, China, Mounts, France, Assembled in Paris, France


This perfume fountain is made up of three different pieces of seventeenth-century Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, united by a series of delicate gilt-bronze mounts. It was no doubt made for a Parisian marchand-mercier, a person who combined the roles of antique dealer and interior decorator. The marchand-mercier exerted a great influence on the taste of the period through his control over the designers and craftsmen he patronized. Unusual objects like this perfume fountain were often commissioned specially for a particular client or interior.

Porcelain had been exported in great quantities into Europe since the mid-seventeenth century and pieces were often broken in transport. This perfume fountain was made of parts salvaged from three separate, damaged covered jars. Together they present an object of exotic, yet suitably restrained, beauty.