Pair of large Chinese cloisonné enamel double crane models


This sculptures in this exceptional pair of Chinese cloisonné enamel double-cranes have a palatial quality thanks to their impressive size and acute attention to detail.


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Strikingly and realistically crafted from cloisonné enamel with gilt metal features, this large pair of double cranes was produced in China in the late Qing dynasty, circa 1900. Each model fabulously depicts one large and one small crane. The crane bodies are of white enamel formed with gilt metal cloisons, decorated with black and grey highlights to the feathers and to the undersides of their long necks. Each crane is depicted with a red-capped head featuring gold circular pattern work, with its eyes and beak formed from gilt metal. The smaller cranes are looking backwards, while the larger ones are holding sprigs of two peaches in their beaks. The belly of each crane is inscribed in gilt with Chinese script within a square border. The long crane legs and feet are formed in gilt metal and decorated with a fine and naturalistic banding, all set above a naturalistically rendered black base.

Being double cranes, this pair are rarer than more commonly known single examples. Similar single crane examples to these can be found in important collections such as a pair from the collection of Mr Robert Chang, which were exhibited in the Suzhou Museum, from 2007-2008. Several more can be found in The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Red-capped headed cranes are particularly prized in Chinese culture for several reasons. Firstly, they are a symbol of peace due to the Chinese word for crane being ‘he’, which has the same pronunciation as the word for harmony. Cranes also have a long-life span and so have become a symbol of longevity in traditional Chinese art—as have peaches, that the larger cranes are holding. Their anatomical form with long necks and legs, further combine the association between nature and heaven.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1900
Early 20th Century
Birds / Ornithology, Chinese Interest, Floral
Enamel - Cloisonné, Gilt, Metal
Black, Cream, Gold, Multi-coloured


187 cm / 73.6 inches
52 cm / 20.5 inches
50 cm / 19.7 inches


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