Russian Enamel

Paperweight Swan

    Paperweight Swan

    France, Paris


    Tenisheva, Maria

    Bronze; casting, champlevé enamel, patination

    Height 15.5 cm

    M.Tenisheva's monogram: "МК", date: "1908"; "2"


    Small relief stylized figure "Swan" is performed in the form of a paperweight and features a bird with spread wings. The figurine is decorated with multi-coloured enamels, the colour scheme is built on black, white, green, blue, purple, orange and their shades.

    Paperweight "Swan" is a part of series, named by N. Roerich "The Enchanted Beasts" and depicting "Fish", "Swan", "Cat", "Pigeon", "Pig", "Owl" and "Rooster". Six figures were designed as caskets and one, "Swan", as a paper-weight. Every figure not only features M.Tenisheva's hallmark – "МТ" and the year of creation – "1908", but additional figure from "1" to "7" as well, which, presumably, may be its serial number.

    This series was created in 1980 by the Princes M.Tenisheva in Paris workshop. Small relief bronze figurines were made in "cire perdue" manner and covered with champlevé enamel of various tones. On several occasions Tenisheva demonstrated them at Art exhibitions in Paris, London, Prague and Brussels.

    In 1909, N. Roerich wrote in his article "The Enchanted Beasts", “Tenisheva applied the old-time craftsmanship to depict the ancient idol sphere of the home fire. To bring to life the shapes of forgotten talismans sent by the Goddess of prosperity to guard a man's home. Not an artist animalist is felt behind the stylized shapes, but her dreaming of the ancient talismans”.

    (quoted after: D.Ozer. The world of the Princess Maria Tenisheva's enamels. M., 2004. P. 120-121).