Chinese Mudman

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This figure is by an unknown master craftsman in China in the 1890 - 1919 period. It has "CHINA" impressed on the underside. After 1919, it would have said "made in China"

Mud (clay) figures from this early period are much more detailed that later figures and are more valued. While newer figures were pressed into molds or even poured into molds, you can tell that this figure was assembled from many hand made pieces all by hand and then individually painted.

You can tell that the beard, the hair and the hat were added separately. The robes were crafted from thin sheets of clay and then wrapped around the torso leaving them open at the front. You can see inside the bottom and see where the craftsman's fingers have worked the clay into the desired shape. The hands are beautifully crafted right down to the fingernails. The face is also magnificent with wrinkles around his eyes and dimples on his cheeks.

Across his lap is what I believe is a squid with its tentacles drawn in. Given that these figures generally represent ordinary people (and frequently fishermen), it's the only thing that makes sense (although I admit it doesn't look much like a squid).

His robes are coloured in a bright green majolica glaze with golden yellow cuffs. His straw hat is blue. The body, face and hands are unglazed (matte) except for the beard and hair which are high gloss white. The figure is sitting on a stump or a rock which is finished in dark brown matte.

It stands (sits) 6 3/4" high and is about 3 1/2" across the bottom.

$40   sold on ebay for US$29

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