This small display case, signed by Gabriel Viardot, illustrates the far-eastern inspired productions of this Parisian cabinetmaker. The simple form of the body of this display case is deconstructed by a series of shelves and asymmetrical beams. The shelves are embellished by wood-sculpted and latticed friezes, signifying the art of Gabriel Viardot.
Two sections closed by a door decorate this display case. First, we see an Indochinese panel with mother of pearl inlays depicting bamboo and foliage. On the other hand, a Japanese panel inlay with tinted bone and mother of pearl. This is decorated with a bird in mid-flight framed by branches. These two panels are examples of a popular practice in the 19th century: reuse. These were produced in the Far East in order to decorate furniture. Imported into France, these panels were reused by Gabriel Viardot, among others, for the decoration of his own productions. This theory is supported by the off-centered character of the décor of these panels and by the clean cut of certain motifs like the branches from the panel with the bird.
The upper part of this display case is decorated with two small bronze dragons of a rare plastic quality.
This Far-East inspired piece is entirely representative of the period known by the name “Japanism.” It is also representative of the work of Gabriel Viardot in which we recognize the characteristic ornamentations like the scrolled feet existing on a large number of his productions.