Chinese Shiwan Figure, the Mad Monk Ji Gong, Signed/Hall Marked
Very intricate and finely detailed Shiwan figure of the very highest quality - a very collectable piece as this level of workmanship in now very hard to find in perfect condition.
Ji Gong (濟公) or the Mad Monk, was a Buddhist monk and legendary folk hero that lived in Southern China during the Song Dynasty. This happy rascal is seated on a mossy tree limb, wearing ragged white trousers and sandals, shading his eyes from the sun whilst he holds an auspicious and lucky peach over his shoulder. He is in perfect condition and the figure is quite eye-catching as well as being a conversational piece. Do spend a little time looking at the detail - this figure will not dissapoint upon arrival.
Signed/hall marked on the underside of the tree by the regional artist/maker.
H10.5", W11", D6" approx., weight approx 5+lbs.
Shiwan potters are renown for their sculptures. Figurines are expressive, lively and lifelike as compared to those from Jingdezhen area. In the early days religious figurines such as the Laughing Buddha, Goddess of Mercy, God of Longevity etc were made. As the time went on figurines from historic, folklore and popular literary works such as Romance of the 3 Kingdoms and Water Margin were introduced and the export market began..
Shiwan potters pay particular attention to the facial expression of the figurines that may appear exaggerated but capture the character of the subject and the form. Cantonese opera strongly influenced the potters. The similarity to Cantonese opera is striking as the performers are skilled in expressing facial and body expressions.
The potters strive to capture that spirit which in their work.
The rough quality of the Shiwan clay is uniquely suitable for modelling male figurines .
Hence the face, hands and feet are left unglazed to achieve this effect. If a more refined look is required, the Shiwan clay is mixed with that imported from Guangdong Dongguan which is fine and whiter. The Dongguang (东莞) white clay is used for more feminine figures.
The best pieces only started to emerge from the Mid 19th century onwards.
Master potters famed for the modeling of figurines include Huang Bing（黄炳, Huang Guzh（黄古珍) from Daoguang/Guangxu period, Chen Weiyan (陈谓岩),Chen Chi (陈赤)，Pan Yushu （潘玉书） from Guangxu/Republican period, Huo Jin (霍津), Wen Songling (温松龄)，Liu Zuochao (刘佐潮) from the Republican period, and Ou Qian （区乾) Liu Chuan (刘传) who emerged during the late Republican period.