Laughing Buddha

Pagod (Magot de la Chine), mounted

about 1730–40
Made at Chantilly Manufactory (France)

Object Place: Europe, France


14.5 x 13 cm (5 11/16 x 5 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain (pâte tendre) decorated in polychrome enamels and gold (probably later), with ormolu mounts

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The two figures, each of a rotund, seated or squatting Chinese man, with a shaved head, grinning mouth, and long earlobes, are pressed from the same two-part mold. the hands, the left holding a peach, the right resting on the right knee, are molded separately and incerted into holes in the full sleeves of the loose robe, which falls open in front of both feet are visible under the folds of the edge of the robe (no. 54a has only four toes on the right foot). The flesh areas are naturalistically colored and shaded. The eyes are blue. the robe is painted with scattered flowers in ouce, yellow, blue, green, and gold on a ground irregularly dotted in black; the broder of the robe around the neck and front in puce, with a conventional pattern in gold of striped triangles; the same gold pattern, but on white, borders the full sleeves. A mottled pale turquise is painted inside the sleeves and as a belt at the back. A cushion at the back, with incised and impressed straw-like ornaments, is painted dark green. On both pieces a cresent-shaped cut was made on the cushion to fit the bronze trunk of the candle branches, and the color was clearly applied after the cut. The procelain flowers, which are anameled light blue, are probably contempory with the nineteenth century mounts.


Paris; 1966, Rita and Frits Markus; 1983, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus