A well-carved bamboo figure of Dongfang Shuo and a boy
17th Century, Ming dynasty, China
17世紀, 明代, 中國
Height: 14 cm, 5.51 inches Length: 13.2 cm, 5.2 inches
高: 14釐米 長: 13.2釐米
The immortal is naturalistically carved with a jocular expression and with finely combed beard and moustache, his hair tied up into a bun and covered by a hat. He is seated on layered rockwork leaning on his outstretched right arm, his left hand holding a branch bearing three peaches. His long flowing robes are loosely draped over his legs and left open at the chest, and elegantly tied at the waist in a bow. Crouching to his left, a boy attendant is depicted seated on a rocky ledge holding a peach.
Dongfang Shuo (c. 160- 93 BCE) was a Han Dynasty (260 BC-220 AD) scholar-official and court jester to Emperor Wu (r. 141- 87 BCE). In Chinese historical myths, he is considered a Daoist immortal. According to one legend, he stole the peaches of immortality from Xiwangmu, Queen Mother of the West and became an immortal.
Christie’s. Fine Chinese Bamboo Carvings From The Personal Collection Of Mr And Mrs Gerard Hawthorn: Wednesday 3 December 2008 (Hong Kong). Hong Kong: Christie’s Press, 2008, pp. 26-27, 48-49.