VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Aquarium
PNA INV 3806
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Once placed at the Yellow room in Necessidades Palace, this large aquarium (one of a pair), is still displayed on its original carved oak wood stand, with the Braganza heraldic dragon, which makes it a special item. It is one of the few pieces caught in photography in its original settings and part of the nine aquariums’ collection that belong to Ajuda, eight of which seem to have come from King Ferdinand’s collection.

History of the Object
Although referred to as aquariums, these sort of pieces were commonly used as jardinières in the 19th century. They were much appreciated items in interior decoration of Victorian times, when used for the display of palm trees and other ‘natural’ elements inside the house, a way of symbolizing ‘Nature tamed by Man’.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain 
Measurements
Width 575 cm. Height 425 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; Qianlong period (circa 1780) 
Function
Aquarium commonly used as jardinières in the 19th century. 
Acquisition
This aquarium once belonged to the collections of Ferdinand de Saxe Coburgo-Gotta (King Ferdinand the Second of Portugal) and is recorded in the books of the Necessidades Palace in Lisbon, now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg was the father of King Luis I who inherited most of his valuable collections, thus bringing these to the Ajuda Palace. The Royal Family lived in the Palace until 1910 when the monarchy fell. The Palace with its collections was turned into a museum in 1968. 
Copyright
The images shall not be published or reproduced without written permission of Institute of Museums and Conservation / Ajuda National Palace 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Ajuda National Palace 
Museum
Ajuda National Palace 
Credit line
Institute of Museums and Conservation / Ajuda National Palace 

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