Bellows, France, ca. 1770. The decoration suggests that the bellows formed part of the fittings of a fashionable 'Chinese'-style interior. The scene, depicting two men in loose robes and long moustaches holding a parasol and a cymbal, probably derives from prints imported from China. Artists selected elements from a variety of design sources resulting in 'chinoiserie', a hybrid style influenced by, but not reproducing, works of art from East Asia.
1620-1670 Belgian Bellows at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London - From the curators' comments: "Until the introduction of central heating, the fireplace was virtually the only source of warmth in a home, and therefore the focal point of the room. When resources were available, it was made from expensive materials and lavishly decorated. It was therefore appropriate that that the tongs, pokers and bellows that went with it should also be lavishly decorated..."