Harlequin with a Goat as Bagpipes

Kaendler, Johann Joachim (1706-1775) | Modeller


What are the harlequins doing with the goats? Is this cruelty to animals? Or part of the rough and ready humour in the commedia dell’arte, the traditional form of improvised comedy theatre in Italy which was also very popular at the Dresden court? In fact, these are just empty goatskins. The goats’ heads all have some sort of pipes attached to their mouths. The goatskins form a tube connected to a bellows. When the harlequins press the bellows bag under their arms, the goats seem to be playing the pipes.

Material & Technique
Porcelain, painting: overglaze colours and gold
Meissen, c. 1740
Inventory number
PE 118