Russian Enamel

Casket “Owl”

    Casket “Owl”

    France, Paris


    Tenisheva, Maria

    Bronze, enamel, cabochons; casting, champlevé enamel, patination

    Height 15.5 cm

    Monogram of M. Tenisheva on casket - "МК",date “1908", numeral “6”


    Small volumetric stylized bronze figurine "Owl" is made in the form of a casket decorated with multicolor champlevé enamel, its bottom part is rectangular pedestal. The casket upper part – detachable lid – is made in the form of a bird head with large cabochon eyes, with spread wings and lowered tail. The bird's chest, wings, head, back and tail are ornamented by stylized geometric patterns filled with enamels of black, orange, blue, green, white and bluish colors. The eyes of an owl are emphasized with blue enamel.

    Casket “Owl” belongs to the series of seven figures named by N.K. Roerich "The Enchanted Beasts" and featuring "Fish", "Swan", "Cat", "Dove", "Pig", "Owl" and "Rooster".

    Six figures are invented as casket and one of them," Swan ", as a paperweight. Not only the monogram of M. Tenisheva - «MT» and the year of creation - «1908», stamp each figurine but the additional number from "1" to "7", which probably could indicate its serial number. Princess M. Tenisheva created this series in her workshop in Paris in 1908. Small volumetric bronze figurines were cast using the "cire perdue" technique and covered with champlevé enamel of different shades. Tenisheva has repeatedly demonstrated these figurines at art exhibitions in Paris, London, Prague, and Brussels. In 1909, N.K. Roerich in his article "The Enchanted Beasts (enamels of Princess M.K. Tenisheva)" wrote with the reference to enamel business, “… Remembering the distant cradle of enamel, the East, I wanted… to do something more fantastic, connecting Russian production with its far principium. Samples of animals are always surrounding the concepts of the East – the enchanted beasts in the fixed postures... This world, the closest to man, evoked special thoughts about fabulous images of beasts. Imagination clearly cast the images of the primitive animals in the everlasting, fixed forms, and mighty symbols guarded the frightened human life ... Tenisheva wanted to capture the ancient insensitive territory of hearth and home implementing ancient skills. Bring to life the forms of forgotten talismans sent by the goddess of prosperity to guard the household. Forms. Not an animalist can be felt in the set of stylized forms, but the dreams about ancient talismans" (ref. Ozer D. “The world of Princess Maria Tenisheva enamels”. M., 2004. p. 120-121).