The Elephant is a European jacquard wall tapestry featuring an exotic Asian elephant covered with rich carpets and ornaments. The original design is from a famous 19th century tapestry on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It was woven at a carpet factory in Aubusson established by Alexis Sallandrouze, 1808-67. The design, attributed to Jean-Baptiste-Amédée Couder, 1797-1864, draws on a number of different sources. By introducing these exotic influences, the tapestry contributed to a revival of the decorative arts in France in the 1840's.
The luxuriant landscape is framed by pairs of twisted columns. The ornamental border is very rich, composed of a dense, complex tracery recalling the decorative vocabulary of Islamic architecture. Beyond this architectural frame lies a luminous landscape in which an Asian elephant can be seen passing between a palm and a banana tree. The elephant, richly caparisoned from top to toe. The tapestry may have been part of a set representing the continents.