Like or not, the holiday gift-giving season is upon us, the time of year we begin making a list and checking it twice. It’s a good thing that Christmas and Hanukkah only come around once a year, what with all the stress gift selection causes. In 17th- and 18th-century France, however, the fine art of gift giving was a yearlong endeavor. Many objects on display at the Legion of Honor in the special exhibition Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette are representative of the highly developed gift-giving culture utilized by the monarchy to solidify its rule.
Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory (France, established 1756). Vase: “Jardin á dauphins,” 1781. Hard-paste porcelain. Musée du Louvre, Département des Objets d’Art.