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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Figure of a parrot

Photo: Paul Macapia

Figure of a parrot

ca. 1750-60

With his forward-thrusting head, beady eyes, and raspy tongue (remarkably still intact), this figure evokes the wild. An exotic subject, the parrot on its foliated tree-stump base reflects a favorite bird theme and energetic rococo modeling. The form is that of an Amazon parrot, but while the rendering of the body shape and feathering patterns is true to life, the color is invented. Rather than the Amazon coloring of overall green, with accents of yellow and blue, or lilac and red, the artist chose the distinctive green, purple, and magenta palette of the Mennecy factory. This figure could be male or female; parrots are one of the few species in which both sexes share colorful plumage. This model, one of only three known, is a rare addition to the porcelain menagerie of the Seattle Art Museum.

Soft paste porcelain with enameled colors
7 in. (17.9 cm), height
Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheeff Endowment for the Decorative Arts
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe", February 17, 2000-May 7, 2000 (2/17/2000 - 5/7/2000)
Published ReferencesDawson, Aileen. "The Development of Repertoire in Mennecy Porcelain Sculpture, circa 1738-65," in the Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 32 (2202), p. 199=211.

Emerson, Julie, Jennifer Chen, & Mimi Gardner Gates, "Porcelain Stories, From China to Europe", Seattle Art Museum, 2000, pg. 226

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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