Thursday, February 26, 2015

After a Fashion: The Lion, the Monkey and the Two Asses Handkerchief, 1710-20

This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In Eighteenth Century France, personal items were often adorned with images which brought joy to their users. Among the most popular of these were handkerchiefs like this one with small scenes (vignettes). This handkerchief shows a scene from la Fontaine's fable “The Lion, the Monkey and the Two Asses.” Here, the lion sits on a high-backed chair at the left of the scene, with the monkey seated on the ground before him and the two mules to the right. The ornamental corner elements and the decorative border are rendered in the popular French style of the time.

The handkerchief is painted on dyed cotton chintz and was made between 1710 and 1720 on the Coromandel coast of India for export to France. 

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