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See more objects with the tag dome, container, display, birdkeepers, carved, lacquer .

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Object Timeline

-0001

1910

  • Work on this object ended.

1916

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2017

  • You found it!

Birdcage (China), 1735–96 and 1880–1910

This is a Birdcage. It is dated 1735–96 and 1880–1910 and we acquired it in 1916. Its medium is lacquered wood with inlaid bone,ivory, and ebony (base); carved and cut ivory, carved wood, carved jade, carved amber, cloisonné enamel, glazed porcelain. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Primarily produced in the era of Ch’ien Lung, a Chinese ruler known for his artistic sensibility, this birdcage marries beauty and function. Chinese bird keeping dates back to the 3rd century BC. By the 18th century, pet songbirds and their lavishly constructed cages were synonymous with social stature, marks of luxury and tradition.
When the Hewitt sisters travelled to Europe in pursuit of objects for the museum they were creating (see photo of Sarah, Eleanor, and Amy Hewitt in a Venetian gondola), they collected items that, today, might not seem immediately relevant to a design museum—like birdcages. The European-focused Hewitt sisters acquired birdcages in various media, such as ceramics and glass. Others represent specific architecture from various locations.

This object was donated by Thomas F. Ryan and catalogued by Carl C. Dauterman. It is credited Gift of Thomas F. Ryan.

Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Vanity Case, ca. 1927
  • carved nephrite, platinum-mounted diamonds,enamel, gold, carved jade,....
  • Lent by Private Collection.
  • 13.2016.81
  • Box, Lac Burgauté, ca. 1927
  • gold, lac burgauté (panels), round diamonds, carved coral, black enamel,....
  • Lent by Private Collection.
  • 13.2016.80

Its dimensions are

H x diam. (a): 56.5 x 33 cm (22 1/4 x 13 in.) H x diam. (b): 6.5 x 33 cm (2 9/16 x 13 in.)

Cite this object as

Birdcage (China), 1735–96 and 1880–1910; lacquered wood with inlaid bone,ivory, and ebony (base); carved and cut ivory, carved wood, carved jade, carved amber, cloisonné enamel, glazed porcelain; H x diam. (a): 56.5 x 33 cm (22 1/4 x 13 in.) H x diam. (b): 6.5 x 33 cm (2 9/16 x 13 in.); Gift of Thomas F. Ryan; 1916-26-1-a/jj

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This object has no known Copyright restrictions.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18187831/ |title=Birdcage (China), 1735–96 and 1880–1910 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=12 December 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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