This carefully detailed piece has been beautifully worked by hand to create the carving of the travelling wise sage. Offset against the backdrop of stylised trees, the bearded figure carries a staff, denoting his age and his 'official' headwear implies that he was a scholar recognised by the imperial government.
The work is signed and dated by the artist, with the inscription reading as '甲申四月二十八日, 林峰作', which translates as 'Jiǎshēn year, fourth month, twenty-eighth day, work of Línfēng'. 'Jiǎshēn' is from the traditional Chinese calendar '农历', otherwise known as the 'Nónglì', the 'farming calendar' or Lunar calendar and correlates to the year 1884.
Besides being a carving of great skill, this piece also served the purpose of a seal via the further inscription in 'Zhuanshu' or 'archaic seal' script on its base. This caved seal script would be used to imprint its mark onto official documentation, paintings or works of poetry using the traditional '朱砂' or 'zhūshā' red ink or Cinnabar paste.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Chinese government officials were selected by Imperial Examinations, a practice established as far back as the year 605 and continued until 1905. The exams were based on knowledge of the classics and literary style, and were held every three years. There were limited quotas for each level (e.g. provincial, metropolitan, palace) and as little as three hundred students would be selected from the masses of entrants.
Excellent. There are no chips, cracks or scratches to the piece, there is negligible age wear that is commensurable with the age of the piece, please refer to photos as part of condition report.
c. 5.3" / 13.5 cm tall (from base to rim) x " / cm in diameter.
Carving will be securely packaged and shipping will be insured. Shipping will be combined for multiple items.