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East Asia

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Boy washing an Elephant

Creation date: ca. 1900
Creation place: China

Other Information

Type: Jade Sculpture
Medium and Support: Nephrite
Credit Line: Gift of Harold B. and Margaret E. Canavan
Accession Number: 1989.5
Dimensions: 4 9/16 in. x 6 5/8 in. x 2 5/8 in. (11.59 cm x 16.83 cm x 6.67 cm)
Currently on view


Mr. and Mrs. Harold B. Canavan, San Diego, California ( - October 4, 1989)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (October 4, 1989 - )

Label Copy

Images of “washing the elephant” appear in Chinese art by the fourteenth century, but its sources and meaning are not clear. This sculpture is a typical version of the subject, which shows foreign figures as grooms in the process of washing down and attending to a contented white elephant, who is elaborately caparisoned with bridles, hip straps, and richly ornamented rugs.
Last Updated: 7/16/2013


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Art of East Asia: China The San Diego Museum of Art , 1/24/2013 - 00/00/00

Art of East Asia San Diego Museum of Art , 2/3/2013 - 8/1/2013

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