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Figural Mantel Clock “au chameau”

Skulpturenuhr au chameau

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Vienna, first quarter of the 19th century

carved and gilt lime wood, in the shape of a recumbent camel supporting the case drum, finial in the shape of a seated Asian, a servant with parasol on his left, carved base imitating a rocky ground, bead molding, four bun feet
engine turned and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu), enamel dial ring
anchor escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on bells, repeater, turn-off for strike, indication of date
21½ in

Already at the end of the 17th century, the great fascination with China and other Far Eastern countries triggered a first wave of so-called chinoiseries in European art. In the 18th century, imaginative interpretations and combinations of Asian motifs became a sought-after decoration in arts and crafts and interior design. Chinese rooms were highlights of the interiors of numerous magnificent buildings such as Schönbrunn Palace or Hetzendorf Palace. Asian flora and fauna were also collected and were an important part of the orangeries or menageries of European royal houses. The artistically carved and gilt case of this Viennese mantel clock „au chameau“ from the first quarter of the 19th century is a wonderful example of the continuing interest in chinoiseries in the Habsburg Monarchy. On a base with bun feet and carved rocky terrain rests a large camel, which carries the movement’s case drum on its back. The finial is fashioned in the shape of an Asian man sitting cross-legged, who is provided shade by a servant with a parasol. The Silk Road and its caravans loaded with rich, exotic goods were probably the source of inspiration for this attractive case. The engine turned and fire-gilt bronze dial is decorated with an enameled dial ring. The movement with anchor escapement has a Viennese grande sonnerie on bells, repeater, turn-off lever for the strike and date display.

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