Lot 1546. A bronze figure of a Daoist immortal, Ming dynasty (1368-1644); 22 in. (55.8 cm.) high. Estimate USD 18,000 - USD 25,000. Price realised USD 60,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013
The figure is dressed as an official, and is shown standing on a pierced rockwork base from which sprout branches of peach blossoms. He wears a court hat adorned with a flower decoration, and a long robe decorated with a dragon amidst clouds, the head of the dragon visible between the upper and lower sections of the 'jade' belt in front, and the body of the dragon across the shoulders in back. The reverse of the base bears a four-character inscription, sanyue taohua (peach blossom of the third month)..
Note: The figure may possibly represent Wenchang, the deity of literature and scholarly endeavors, who was widely worshipped by the literati, particularly by candidates in the civil service examinations. Wenchang is often portrayed as a scholar official, with a long moustache and beard, dressed in a dragon robe. On a Ming dynasty hanging scroll titled Wenchang, the God of Literature, by Ding Yunpeng, in the British Museum, illustrated by S. Little, Taosim and the Arts of China, Chicago, 2000, no. 89, p. 267, Wenchang is depicted wearing a peony on his hat. The hat of the present figure is also adorned with a flower.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 19 - 20 September 2013