art collection

 Asiatica Artefacts



 Gilt Buddah; H. 25 cm; in research, ask for availability.

Following some hardstone sculptures carvings  in research

 Reference  Buddha statuette  head Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 Kmer, hard stone 11 th cent.; a Kmer Khleang style stone figure of Visnue standing in samabhanga on a base, lower parts of his principle hands broken; both upperhands holding cakra and sankha,  wearingshort sampot, secured by a belt, a double fishtail fold hanging betyween his legs; his face with serene expression, ridged eyebrows, broad nose; elongated earlobss with pendeloque earrings, tiara in front of his conical shape hairdress part ofbackslab behind. H. 60 cm; provenance Christies Amsterdam 1993

Kmer head; Hard stone; in research

Hardstone in research

Gandhara, schist stone; in research

Hardstone; in research

Hardstone; japan garden buddha; in research

 Ceramic; in research

 Hardstone; in research

Earthware; in research; 14th cent. ; indonesia. H.  7 cm


 Bayon Bodhisattva ; south east Asia12th-13rd    H. 48 x W17 x D 11 cm                                     

The original name for the Bayon is Jayagiri (or "Victory Mountain")The Bayon was the last state temple to be built at Angkor (Khmer: ក្រុងអង្គរ), and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha


Mandala Buddha; Birma; 19th cent. H. 46 W39 x D 22 cm; gilt traces; small damaged under left hand,

One well-known type of mandala is the mandala of the "Five Buddhas", archetypal Buddha forms embodying various aspects of enlightenment. Such Buddhas are depicted depending on the school of Buddhism, and even the specific purpose of the mandala. A common mandala of this type is that of the Five Wisdom Buddhas (a.k.a. Five Jinas), the Buddhas Vairocana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi. When paired with another mandala depicting the Five Wisdom Kings, this forms the Mandala of the Two Realms.


Chinese Rose quartz Buddha; H. 14 x w 13x d5 cm


GOA; bone; in research;  Narasimha??, the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu standing  on the coils of Shesha, with five heads of Shesha forming a canopy. statue

 Mammoth Ivory Sex Ukiyo-e Shunga   Japanese Rare Art Erotic Erotica Sexy Samurai Geisha Bijin Oiran Kimono Netsuke Figure Statue Okimono Art; signed (?)

 RATAN weaved pipe case + pipe;  

Woven Ratan pipecase of musozutzu form ; By  Maeyama Koshin made?? Ref.: Larry Caplan Collection of Japanese netsuke and selected netsuke.Exh. catalog 25 October 2019; International Netsuke Society, Paris. Introduction Rosemary Bandini; # 91 ; I +pipe; 22cm 160 m790

Wood pipe case + leather tobacco pouche + pipe ;  21 cm+; pipe 21 cm;; tobacco pouch14 cm

 Gilt inro wwith neskte

Wood tobacco holder + pipe case;  approx 9 cm

Leather pipe case + tobaccopouche

 wood inro with stag antler pipeholder

Woood lackered inro with stone neskute

 INROS'    Collection various inros' and tobacco pouches,  pipes; in research



 Bronze beautycase; 10x 8 cm; fine weaved copper tassels with bone; forced/casted in  centre head of brown bone( ?) mounted on bone and bluepainted cartouche;inside miror;

Kiseru (Pipe) + case stag-antler pipe case 21 cm; Asakaso, Tokio(??);  pipe (Kiseru) "shibuichi silver" (a Japanese alloy that consists of three parts of copper to one part of silver, called shibuichi);; L 19 cm (stag-antler gives also 'protection' against snake bites).



tobacco pouche+wood Kagamibuta; copper dragon chain  chatelaine ; Sagara-Nui (french knot) Length chat. 13 cm; flat stag-antler Shakudo  Ø 52 mm; copper 00150120; Pouche need restorated


19th century netsuke in kagamibuta (mirror lid) form. The top is solid silver with medium relief coiled dragon with fiercely open mouth and flames issuing from its body. Superb quality metalwork - see its face, claws and crisply incised differentiated scales, touches Warm patina, beautiful bowl with stable old age line, swinging metal loop at the back for the cord. Very powerful piece.




GOA?? Macau? Kakure Kirishitan? Maria Kannon ivory(?) carving,  Insribtion/carved on botom:  'cilence'.  ('c'=latin not portuguese language) Blessed Virgin Goddess of Mercy, Looks like  hidden Christian figure, culture of Tokugawa, also know as ""Kakure Kirishitan"" with attached figures .  watch vinger of lady;  64x81 mm; silver framed; 17th cent.  (provenance originally part of  a former Nihon collection). Ref to : the Larry Caplan Collection of Japanese netsuke and selected netsuke & pipecases; Exh. cat. 25 October 2019; International Netsuke Society, Paris; Introduction by Rosemary Bandini; # 58, ill;  150 160120

Maria Kannon are statues of the Buddhist deity Kannon that were secretly revered by the Hidden Japanese Christians (隠れキリシタ) (Kakure Kirishitan) in persecution times as images of Our Lady. In the mid-17th century, outlawed Christians created statues of the Virgin Mary (Mother of Jesus) disguised as the Buddhist deity Kannon (Goddess of Mercy). These images, called Maria Kannon (マリア観音), were made or altered to look like Kannon, but they were not worshipped as such.
To conceal their faith, Christians pretended to be Buddhist lay people, yet they secretly maintained their faith. They hid crosses inside Buddhist statues which, to outsiders appeared Buddhist, but to the outlawed Christians were objects of faith.
The Kakure Kirishitan venerated these images by silently praying to Mother Mary.



Nagasaki Maria Kannon,” Edo period (1603-1868), bronze. 15 cm. Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, Japan. Reproduced from Uchiyama Yoshikazu 内山善一, Chizawa Teiji 千沢楨治, and Nishimura Sada 西村貞, Kirishitan no bijutsu キリシタンの美術 [Christian Art] (Tokyo: Hōbunkan, 1961), 186. P. 69 ill 6.1


Khmer: ជ័យវរ្ម័នទី២ ( Cambodja Angkor Wat; Phnom Da [temple] situated 70 kilometer south of Phnom Penh )

Jayavarman II/moustached king wearing a mitter; Hard stone, 9 th cent. Height 20 cm   x Ø 10cm ;  Jayavarman II (approx. 770–850) founder and first king of the Kmer empire . Ruling 802-850 but could be possible 770 till 835; 9 cent. royals: Jajavarman 1, 2,3 & YasovarmanMoustached king  JayavarmanII?? 

  • Sak-Humphry, Chhany. The      Sdok Kak Thom Inscription. The Edition of the Buddhist Institute 2005.
  • Higham, Charles. The      Civilization of Angkor. University of California Press 2001.
  • Briggs, Lawrence Palmer. The      Ancient Khmer Empire. Transactions of the American Philosophical      Society 1951.
  • Mabbett, Ian en Chandler,      David. The Khmers. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1996.
  • Coedès, Georges. Les      capitales de Jayavarman II.. Bulletin de l'EFEO (Parijs), 28 (1928).
  • Wolters, O.W. Jayavarman      II.'s Military Power: The Territorial Foundation of the Angkor Empire.      Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Londen), 1973: 21-30.
  • Jacques, Claude en Lafond,      Philippe. The Khmer Empire: Cities and Sanctuaries from 5th to 13th      Century. River Books [2007].
  • Jacques, Claude. La carrière      de Jayavarman II., Bulletin de l'EFEO (Parijs), 59 (1972): 205-220.

Jacques, Claude. On Jayavarman II., the Founder of the Khmer Empire. Southeast Asian Archaeology 3 (1992): birth and death dates, Britannica.com, Retrieved 11-23-2010. Britannica.com. 2012-03-17.

 · Mabbett & Chandler, The Khmers p. 261  · Briggs, The Ancient Khmer Empire p. 83.

· Albanese, Marilia, The Treasures of Angkor. White Star, Italy (2006), p. 24.



Kakure Kirishitan bronze crosss, 'fleur de lys' in corners, with Buddha as christ (!) H. 25 cm.

Lit/reference quote: Very rare 16/17thC Japanese Iron Cross with Buddha. I've owned several of these over 25 years (Buddha gallerie, Ca), and seen one other at auction. Most seem to made of iron, and a few of bronze. The quality does not seem to differ between the different materials used. I have not seen any others on the market for several years now, and am putting up one of my last two as I finally begin to downsize as I near retirement. I've been told they were used by early Japanese Christians, as they were persecuted by the Shoguns, and wanted to show that they still respected the Buddha. 9.75" tall, 7.75" wide, approximately .5" at deepest point.unquote



Bronze kruis; cloisonné/champlavé emaille; H 45 cm; Nihon, Meiji??? 

26 MartyrsThe Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument were built on Nishizaka Hill in June 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the canonization of the Christians executed on the site on February 5, 1597. The 26 people, a mixture of native Japanese Christians and European priests (20 Japanese, four Spaniards, one Mexican and one Indian) had been arrested in Kyoto and Osaka on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the national ruler, for preaching Christianity.They were imprisoned, then later marched through the snow to Nagasaki, so that their execution might serve as a deterrent to Nagasaki’s large Christian population. Hung up on 26 crosses with chains and ropes, the Christians were lanced to death in front of a large crowd on Nishizaka Hill. St Paul Miki is said to have preached to the crowd from his cross..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The monument of 26 MartyrsThe exhibits include examples of “fumie” or treading images. Every year from 1629 to 1857, Nagasaki residents were forced to go through a ritual of stepping on bronze images of Christ or Mary to prove they were not Christians. Also to be seen are statues of the Virgin Mary in the guise of Buddhist deities such as Miroku and Kwannon Bodhisattva to which the hidden Christians prayed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Twenty-Six Martyrs altar was built as a memorial for the many people who gave up their lives. The image of a plum blossom in the centre of the altar was chosen because the plum tree blossoms in February – the month of the martyrdom of the 26 saints, who are commemorated on February 6.

The main theme inherent in both the museum and monument is “The Way to Nagasaki” – symbolising not only the physical trek to Nagasaki but also the Christian spirit of the martyrs. The museum’s collection includes important historical articles from both Japan and Europe (such as original letters from the Jesuit priest St Francis Xavier) as well as modern artistic works on the early Christian period in Japan. The displays are arranged chronologically into three periods: the early Christian propagation, the martyrdoms, and the persistence of Christianity underground during the persecution.                                                                                                                                                                            The main monument with and extensive bronze depicting the Twenty-Six Martyrs, was designed by Japanese sculptor, Yasutake Funakoshi. The work took Funakoshi four years to complete

 Geisha, Nihon? copper, ivory chrystelephantine; H. =/- 25 cm presumeably european??

KINNARI, Thai; bronze;H32cm; arm fault; missing piece on shoulder

Kmer; stone; 12 th cent. H. 16 cm

Garuda; Thap Mam Chan, sand stone double headed garuda 12th cent. Vietnam.

Garuda Bherunda is a double-headed form that may have led to the Austro-Hungarian and American forms called the Double Eagle (as in the title of J. P. Sousa's famous march.)

India’s architectural history is rife with innovative and ornate decorative motifs. The spillover of such motifs on to the subcontinent’s textiles was a happy happenstance, with the lotus medallion, amalaka (decorative stone disc on top of a temple shikhara), and kalgi/kalanga (paisley), all finding their way on to a saree. The Gandabherunda (mythical, two-headed bird) is one such motif.

Like several temple architectural motifs, the Gandabherunda (literally, the warrior bird from ganda) also had Buddhist origins. John Marshall, a colonial archaeologist, found a two-headed bird motif on the base of a stupa in Taxila, with one head looking ahead and one looking behind. A similar motif, with Hamsa (swan/goose) heads, was found etched on a railing of a stupa in Bodh Gaya. Given its “passant” (walking with front foot raised) iconography, Marshall largely attributed its origins to the two-headed eagle motif of the Near-Eastern region. Yet, closer to home, the mythology is full of the bherunda bird.

Valentina Stache-Rosen, a German Indologist, relates its origins to a Buddhist oral lore that narrates: One of the heads of the bherunda bird was Garuda and the other Upagaruda. When one slept the other kept awake. Once Upagaruda was sleeping and Garuda came upon a delicious flower, which he ate without informing Upagaruda about it. When the sleeping brother awoke he realized what happened and was furious. In his vengeance, Upagaruda ate a poisonous flower and both of them died.

Binh Dinh - Museum of Cham Sculpture - Danang, Vietnam


300km south of Da Nang, Binh Dinh Province is home to numerous Cham relics of which the most significant is the system of Hindu temples built continuously from the 11 th to 15 th century when the power center of Champa kingdom was concentrated there. During the 1934 and 1935 archeological excavations conducted by J.Y. Clayes at Thap Mam hill and surrounding areas, many precious works including bas-reliefs and round statues of the holy bird Garuda, dragons, elephant-lions, dancers, gods and goddess…which are typical of the Thap Mam style were found. There are 67 works from those excavations on display in the Thap Mam – Binh Dinh gallery of Cham Museum.


japan (lead/tin casting?); presumeable Sawarie (Shakudo?Shibuichi??) In research


 Japanese BONE sculpture; in research

Japanese hard wood carving; in research

Japanese platter;The porcelain plate has the mark "Satsuma". Not sure if it shows the castle of the Satsuma fief or another one. Satsuma (the kiln) is also located in Kyushu; Clued chip on rim; rare in Europe not in particular in Japan.


Japanese  platter email champlavé. Shows age signs that  might  Meiji;  The dragon decoration is clearly not Chinese, though. Rare in europe, not in particular in Japan

Kmer Khelan style stone figure of visnue standing in samalhanga on base; H. 60 cm; provenance Christies Amsterdam 1990, lot 148; 11th cent.

Late Ming, supports; loose heads, one head replicated.; H. 18 cm



Star god Shoulao

hardstone, polychromed figurine with paper covered, gold foil stars;


Stone brush stone


Ming  Wangli ; 38 cm charger in research


 vietnam  ceramic charger; in research





Various blanc de chine an B/W porcelain in research



Japanese celluloid toy

Japanese netsuké,dutchman, 17th cent.


Porcelain egg shell bowl; diameter 37 cm; high 12 cm,; bears a  (apocryphal).seal. (in research)20th cent.

Reference is made to Chinese 'eggshell' porcleain.

Eggshell porcelain, also called danpi bodiless or tuotai bodiless ware, or Wade-Giles tan-p’i bodiless or t’o-t’ai bodiless ware.

Eggshell porcelain is characterized by an excessively thin body under the glaze. It often had decoration engraved on it before firing that, like a watermark in paper, that was visible only when held up to the light.

Decoration of this kind is called anhua, meaning literally 'secret language' regardless of the thickness of the body. Incised or impressed anhua decoration is not limited to eggshell porcelain but can occur on any white porcelains.

Eggshell porcelain was introduced in the Ming dynasty during the reign of the emperor Yongle (1402–24). It reappeared in the reign of the emperor Chenghua (1464–87), and later Yongle wares were copied under the emperor Wanli (1572–1620). Small vine cups with underglaze blue and white decoration was also found in the 'Hatcher' Ming cargo from Late Ming.

The paper-thin porcelain again occurred during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12), especially in the reign of the emperor Kangxi (1661–1722), in famille verte and famille rose porcelain, chiefly in bowls, plates, cups, and saucers. The manufacture of this porcelain takes skill since the thinness is arrived by manually trimming down the material in the unfired porcelain pieces with a steel knife.

First of all I must say that this bowl is a really good piece, especially if it like you say have underglaze blue decoration. I have thought a lot about several possibilities about a date but come to the conclusion that - based on what I can see of the pictures - it is rather modern. The oldest I can think of is the 1920's but the golden rim makes it possibly with a mid 50's date. They are still made like this today and I can't rule out anything regarding the date. All modern pieces must be judged on their own quality, which in this case is very good. The decoration is of the eight "Lohans". They were pupils of Buddha who by wisdom had gained immortality but chosen to stay on earth to help the human beings. I hope you are not too surprised by my opinion on the date, despite the Yongzheng mark. Eggshell thin pieces were actually made during the Yongzhen period. There were tea cups and saucers, and plates often with a "ruby back", but their bodies of the same thickness were less translucent. Porcelain of eggshell thinness - so called bodiless ware - is heard of as early as from the Yonglo period of the Ming dynasty. Eggshell thin Qingbai pieces were also made during the Song dynasty. I have seen a couple of these, and they are unbelievable thin, like paper. The production of modern eggshell porcelain started around 1916 during the period of Hongxian (1915-1916). In the planning of his official ware they settled for looking at the Yongzheng period as a model for the decoration after first having considered the Song dynasty. This is the most important reason for the revival of Famille rose enamel painting on porcelain at this time and a reason why the Yongzheng mark also speaks for the 1920's. During the 1920-30 eggshell ware became an important part of the total production program in Jingdezhen with well over 3300 men occupied by 1928. A serious break in production took place when the Japanese took Jingdezhen in 1937 after a surprise attack on Shanghai in 1932, the most important export harbor city. Eggshell thin porcelain is still made up to this day but most of it is decorated with enamels. Most of the less expensive pieces have their borders added with transfer prints and only the main decoration is hand painted. If your bowl is an early eggshell from the 1920's I can only congratulate, since these are very rare. Even if it's a later piece - even if it was made yesterday - it is still good since the decoration is underglaze blue. We can only imagine what kind of efforts it takes to decorate an unfired piece of porcelain of this thinness. The fragility and the tensions in the body of these piece have taken a great toll on what is still in existence today of the early pieces. So, go easy on your maid - these are really fragile pieces that might break in the heat of a spotlight in your own cabinet.


Suiseki; Taka-ishi/kuzuya-ishi (tached hut stone; Color: goshihi-ishi; place of origin: Kibune-ishi

Gongshi; 石 or paleolithic? stone

hardstone; 天上的锤子 heavenly hammer; 42x30 cm;

Scollars rocks according to Christies:

Collecting Guide: Scholars’ rocks

The fantastically-shaped stones that have inspired China’s poets and painters, as seen in December 2015 at Beyond White Clouds — Chinese Scholar’s Rocks from a Private Collection

What are scholars’ rocks?

Leading expert Robert D. Mowry, who is Harvard Art Museum’s Curator Emeritus and a senior consultant to Christie’s, describes them as ‘favoured stones that the Chinese literati displayed in the rarefied atmosphere of their studios’. The Chinese scholar drew inspiration from the natural world; he did not go out into nature to paint or compose poetry, explains Christie’s specialist Pola Antebi. Rather, he worked within the seclusion of his studio and used these ‘representations of mountains’ as inspiration for his work.  

What do the various forms represent?

‘Like a landscape painting, the rock represented a microcosm of the universe on which the scholar could meditate within the confines of his studio or garden,’ says Robert D. Mowr., ‘Although most scholar’s rocks suggest mountain landscapes, these abstract forms may recall a variety of images to the viewer, such as dragons, phoenixes, blossoming plants and even human figures.’

A few of the mountainscapes may recall specific peaks but most represent imaginary mountains such as the isles of the immortals believed to rise in the eastern sea. However, more than anything it was the abstract qualities that appealed to the Chinese literati, an idea that resonates with the modern collector who will see parallels with the avant-garde forms of Brancusi, Moore and Giacometti. 

An inscribed Lingbi scholar’s rock. This piece was offered in Beyond White Clouds — Chinese Scholar’s Rocks from a Private Collection on 2 December 2015 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Are they natural or man-made?

They were found in nature and on occasion enhanced by carving and piercing the stones, or making inscriptions.   

Where were they found?

The rocks were often brought to the scholars from remote places, the finest coming from riverbeds or mountains. Some of the most prized examples came from Lingbi, in the northern Anhui provenance of China. ‘Because of their density, Lingbi stones are naturally resonant,’ Mowry explains. ‘The best Lingbi stones are deep black in colour; often only lightly textured, their surfaces appear moist and glossy.’

More common are the rocks originating from Yingde, in the Guangdong province. ‘Ying rocks are traditionally prized for their intricately textured surfaces which are often characterised as “dimpled” or “bubbled”,’ says Mowry. ‘At Yingde, rocks were harvested from caves; tradition asserts that the best pieces came from caves filled with water, which imparted dark, glossy surfaces.A Qilian ‘stream and grottoes’ stone. Qing dynasty. Sold for $1,120,000 in Beyond White Clouds — Chinese Scholar’s Rocks from a Private Collection on 2 December 2015 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

When were they first collected, and by whom?

From as early as the Neolithic period — nearly 7,000 years ago — prized stones and jade have been found buried in tombs. However it was not until the late Tang dynasty (618-907) that scholar’s rocks were collected in earnest.

In the Song dynasty (960-1279) we begin to see their influence on Chinese literature. ‘Mi Fu (1051-1107) and others composed essays on rocks,’ explains Christie’s specialist Pola Antebi, ‘and Du Wan (12th century) compiled the first comprehensive catalogue of stones, Yunlin shipu, attesting to the growing appreciation of fine stones.’

This fascination lasted for centuries and the breadth of the collection in this sale testifies to the rocks’ continuing appeal. ‘Collectors from all over the world find them appealing once they have been introduced to the category,’ confirms Antebi. ‘One prominent collector who helped introduce the category in the United States was the late Robert Rosenblum, an artist based in Boston.’

What are the criteria for a scholar’s rock?

In his mid-19th century book Tanshi — or Chats on Rocks — Liang Jiutu stated that ‘in collecting, it is the choice of rocks that comes first. If the rock does not seem like a painting by the powers of nature, then you shouldn’t choose it.’

Many factors contribute to the perfect scholar’s rock — or ‘fantastic rocks’ as they were once known — ranging from its geographic origin to the colour and texture of the stone. ‘Rocks of sombre colour are typically appreciated for their sensuous shapes, while rocks of bright colour are generally valued for their massed forms, which best showcase their colours,’ says Antebi.

A number of terms were created to describe the desired qualities in a scholar’s rock, from shou (meaning thin) to tou (conveying ‘openess’). Hollows in the rock, meanwhile, were prized for their dramatic contrast to the solidity of the stone — and light. Other terms denote the rock’s age: gu means ancient but also elegant, while jue is the ultimate accolade, translating as ‘perfect’.

 A small Japanese Furuyaishi rock mountain accompanied with a mounted album of commentaries by various connoisseurs. Japan, late Edo period. Sold for HK$300,000 ($38,891) in Beyond White Clouds - Chinese Scholar's Rocks from a Private Collection on 2 December 2015 at Christie’s in Hong KongWhat do these pieces tell us about the cultural exchange between China and Japan?

‘This particular collection was primarily sourced in Japan,’ says Pola Antebi. ‘Many of these treasured pieces were acquired in China by Japanese dealers and transported back to Japan in the 19th century.

Robert D. Mowry elaborates on the differences between Chinese and Japanese taste when it came to the shapes of the rocks: ‘In creating paintings and in collecting rocks, the Japanese followed Chinese models in certain periods, while embracing native Japanese styles in others.’

There is a marked tendency for hollows and textured surfaces in Chinese rocks, while the Japanese prefer stones with a smoother surface, and tend to favour forms that suggest well-known peaks such as Mount Fuji.

ROOT CARVING (Gongshi,  石 ?)

wood H. 45 cm; copper socle; added an aureole/nimbus , buddah lacking)  

Root carving is a traditional Chinese art form. It consists of carving and polishing tree roots into various artistic creations.

Using roots to make necessities has been practiced since primitive society. Like other artistic crafts, art of roots produced from primitive labor. The earliest root carvings are “辟邪” and “角形器” showing up in the Warring States period.

In the Sui and Tang dynasties, root carving works not only prevailed in folk, but they were also cherished by the governing class. In the Tang dynasty, people laid emphasis on the natural forms of roots, cleverly taking advantage of the effect of corrosion and moth-eaten.

In the Song and Yuan dynasties, art of root carving not only developed in the court and folk, but also appeared in grottoes and temples. Roots were used to carve the statues of the Buddha, always comparing favorably with the clay.

Root carving preserves natural beauty. Ancient artists created lifelike and vivid works by a special technique using expression based on the roots' natural forms. This kind of creation is not completely artificial, but created by both human beings and nature.

Root carving is different from engraving. It combines peculiarity with ingeniousness. Although its aesthetic principals share common ground with engraving, at the same time they are applied uniquely. The common ground is that they share expressive techniques of wood carving, sculpture, stone carving and so on, overcoming weaknesses by acquiring others strong points. The difference lies in the natural shape of roots. During the creative process, root carving mostly maintains the natural form of the root, adding some artificial polishing. In other words, root carving is guided by the inherent qualities of the root, rather than by shaping images merely through carving.

Neolithocal ceramic vase.

In research

Brass cloisonne small vases: various stages, how is manufactured; H. +/- 8 cm

Tanimbar / Leti islands; Polynesia ancestoral wood  figurines H.71cm;Polynesia Papuan gulf; Van Lier collection:               Christies Amsterdam 15 april 1997;    

Tanimbar/Leti islands Polynesia  ancestoral wood  figurines; ; H. 71 cm; Polynesia Papuan gulf; Zwaan auction Amsterdam Van Lier collection  08-12-1999 (see references hereunder: Christies); .

Lit.: 'Vergeten eilanden, Nico de Jong & Toos van Dijk, Amsterdam 1995; P. 48, ill. isbn 90-5450-002-6

Lit.: Tanimbar 'island south east Moll

ucan, Maluku Teggara; English ed.  isbn 962-593-015-9

Lit.: Forgotten islands of Indonesia', The art and culture of the south Moluccas; art and artifacts of Polynesia, Anna D'Alleva.

Lit. Art of the Papuan gulf; Jaqueline Lewis.

References: Christies Amsterdam Van lIER COLLECTION sales april 15th 1997, lot108 : Price realized $ 85,000

Perfume  silver balls; Incence burner,

collection of; diameter +/- 4,5 cm; 8th century, however chain (20th cent. ?) differentiate as pictured from the enclosed  lit.: 'kunstschätze aus China; katalog 'kunsthaus' Zürich 2 october 1980 # 90 ill.

tang -dynasty ;

first half 8th cent.; silver, cross-section 4,5 cm; chain: 7,5 cm; 

Lit.: Kunstschätze aus China; katalog kunsthaus Zürich 2 october 1980; # 90; ill. 191;

ref.: 1970 excavation,  Hjiacum, Xi'an, Shaanxi,; Shaanshi provincial Museum, Xi'an.

Bali woodcarvings


Han period (bc200 ad 200) ceramic elephant; H. approx 35 cm; trump and back left leg restorated.

fabrics,Asian various


Tranlucient milkglass; Height +/- 25 cm; presumeably, atributted to Loretta H. Yang

Lit. Glass Tantra:the Art of Loretta H.Yang Hardcover – April 1, 2013

by Andrew Brewerton (Author)

Summary An acclaimed actor in 1970-80s Taiwan, Loretta H. Yang's starring role in Jade Love made her a household name and earned her the Best Leading Actress awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Golden Horse Awards. Yang left the film industry at the height of her career in 1987 to established LIULIGONGFANG, Asia's first glass art studio. Widely recognized as the founder of contemporary Chinese liuli art, her work has been exhibited around the world and acquired by internationally renowned museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The artist's Glass Tantra is comprised of the critically acclaimed collections Dunhuang Series, Formless, But Not Without Form. etc

Cloisonné square sino-islamic vase; Height  32 cm

Square cloisonné vase; high 32 cm; w/d 13.5 cm; marked seal Ming , Qianlong Nianzhi, Ch'ien Lung  (1736-1795). Reference: another one look a like:  catalog Lempertz  7 june, 2013, lot 174.

porcelain Blue vase; H. approx. 28 cm; qing  seal; Tongzhi? 1861-1876

sino arabic cloisonne round lidded box; Ø 11 cm, height 8cm. seall: Ming , Qianlong Nianzhi, Ch'ien Lung  (1736-1795). 20th century.

Peking glass; ocre; seal:

1 2

3 4      

Emperor: Ch'ien Lung (2 4); 1736-1795;

 made  :Qianlong Nianzhi (3);

reign    : Ming (1).

20th century

The mark says "Qianlong Nianzhi", or made in the Qianlong reign. If it were on porcelain I would think it is not of the period. Contemporary Qianlong marks did not look that way. @20th century

The Qing dynasty Yongzheng emperor (1723-35) is said to have exhibited a pronounced preference for vessels made of bright red and purple glass. The method utilized to achieve these colors is believed to have been transmitted to China by Kilian Stumpf who had attended the Jesuit college in Mainz where the latest modes to produce ruby glass were known. This process included the addition of colloidal gold (gold dispersed as fine particles) to the glass formula. That this technology had been introduced to China has been confirmed by analytical studies of specimens from the Kangxi and Yongzheng periods, which showed that the red, pink, and purple enamel colors employed in decorating porcelain had been prepared from ruby glass which contained colloidal particles of gold.

tapered bronze with silver inlay, vase; height approx 18,5 cm ;;Ø 6,5 cm; approx 17TH CENT.;  small hole in bottom rim

mythological bird; wood; Height approx. 20 cm

Watchtower, minqui; Han period.

Height 116 cm ;

Base : 29x26 cm ;

Low fired grey clay earthenware

4 (loose) storeys ;

Eastern Han ;

Not thermoluminescense tested ;

Some restorations

Lit :

provenance Qinghua Guo,

The mingqi pottery buildings of Han Dynasty China, 206 BC-AD 220 ;

Sussex academic press 2010

Page 74, illustrated.

Lit. : China art reference library

Chinese Han Watchtower ②

Music hall tower ;

Looks like a watchtower / music tower; (see also chinese artefacts fool drummer)

Low fired grey clay earthenware ;

Han period ; jesters

High 75 cm ;

Base : 16x 16 cm

3 (loos) storeys.

Not thermoluminescense tested ;

Some restoration.


please find hereunder an analysis and restoration report of a so called WATCHTOWER , of which little is known in general.

Restoration reports on request.

For references see the catalogue: 'onder dak in China' (Under roof in China), exhibition catalogue, 'Koninklijke Musea voor kunst en Geschiedenis', Brussels, september 2007. A must who's interested in old (Han) ceramics/pottery in general and in particural archtitecturial funuary ceramics.


Chinese Potterie of the Han dynasty; Berthold Laufer; 1909; p. 301.:

                                                                                                                                                                      The pavilion of marital harmony; Frank Dunand; exh. Cat. collections Baur; Geneva 2002: p. 91; Quote:’..The urge to copy is deeply embedded in the Chinese character. Originality was never an important criterion for art, and copying was the bedrock of artistic training..’, unquote.


1.Towers and other architecturial structures in various Chinese museum, as presented in their catalogues, are not that well ,that is, general speaking one can see all the cracklines. As of they're not interested to see in what a bad shape the structures are.                                                           

2.Quoting : ...that 'fool', 'jester' or 'clowns', were at that time (Han period) very popular. "Owners' took them with them, when they die, into the graves. And yes, they had so much fun together, they had their own theatres. 'Dwarfs' as they were called but also: musicans, dancers, jigglers, acrobats and jesters.

3.Most theatre models from the 'Han' do have 3 floors on which on the first, a 'dressing' room.

4.Dwarfs are to known by their legs!. As all started with 'Yu the great' , first emporer of the Xia dynasty , he among other things, canalized the waters/rivers, so much other work, that he started to walk clumpsy, walked with a limp. This clumpsiness is known as 'Yubu' , or 'one step of Yu' or the 'dance of Yu'.

5.It's he who intoduced 'new' music and the clupsy legs, as our 'artist' under the '...hot tin roof'. Note the photograph of clumpsy jesters and their limps.....

Lit.:                                                                                                                                                                         The Mingqi pottery buildings of Han Dynasty China 206 BC-AD 220; Qinghua Guo; 2010.

Catalogue: 'onder dak in China' (Under roof in China), exhibition catalogue, 'Koninklijke Musea voor kunst en Geschiedenis', Brussels, september 2007

Chinese art reference library Van Britsom



wayang semar material of a leather buffalo cow koe

History of Semar Figure In Wayang Story

Batara Kuwera:

wood, buffaloleather, paint; h.44x w.20 cm; java; pictured 1 of 4.


According to historian Prof. Dr. Slamet Muljana, Semar's character was first discovered in the literature of the Majapahit Kingdom era entitled Sudamala. In addition to the form kakawin, Sudamala story also sculptured as reliefs in Sukuh Temple which dates back to 1439.
Semar is told as a servant or servant of the main character of the story, namely Sahadewa from the Pandavas. Of course, the role of Semar is not only a follower, but also as a humor launcher to dilute the tense atmosphere.
In the next era, when the Islamic kingdoms flourished on the island of Java, puppetry was also used as a medium of da'wah. Stories that are staged are still around the Mahabharata which was already firmly inherent in the memory of the Javanese community. One of the famous scholars as a cultural expert, for example Sunan Kalijaga. In wayang performance, Semar's character is still maintained, even more active role than Sudamala.
In the next development, Semar degree is increasing again. The Javanese poets in their literary works tell of Semar not just ordinary people, the incarnation of Batara Ismaya, the brother of Batara Guru, the king of the gods.


There are several versions of Semar's birth or origins. Yet all call this figure an incarnation of a god.
In the text of Fiber Kanda is told, the ruler of the heaven named Sanghyang Nurrasa has two sons named Sanghyang Tunggal and Sanghyang Wenang. Because the Single Sanghyang ugly face, then the throne of heaven also bequeathed to Sanghyang Wenang. From Sanghyang Wenang then passed on to his son named Batara Guru yeng. Sanghyang Tunggal then became the nanny of the Batara Guru's descendants, under the name Semar.

In the Paramayoga script narrated, Sanghyang Tunggal is the son of Sanghyang Wenang. Sanghyang Tunggal then married Dewi Rakti, a princess of the king of a crab jin named Sanghyang Yuyut. From the marriage was born a mustika intangible egg which later turned into two men. Both are each named Ismaya for the black, and Manikmaya for the white ones. Ismaya felt inferior to make Sanghyang Tunggal less favorable. The throne of heaven also bequeathed to Manikmaya, who then held Batara Guru. In the meantime Ismaya is only given the position of being the ruler of the Sunyaruri realm, or the dwelling of the spirits. Ismaya's eldest son named Batara Wungkuham has a round child named Janggan Smarasanta, or abbreviated as Semar. He became the caretaker of Batara Guru's descendants named Resi Manumanasa and continued up to his grandchildren. In special circumstances, Ismaya could possess Semar so that Semar became a very feared figure, even by the gods. So according to this version, Semar is the grandson of Ismaya.

In the Purwakanda manuscripts narrated, Sanghyang Tunggal has four sons named Batara Puguh, Batara Back, Batara Manan, and Batara Samba. One day there was news that the throne of heaven would be passed on to Samba. This made her three sisters feel jealous. Samba was kidnapped and tortured to be killed. But the act is known by their father. Sanghyang Tunggal also condemned his three sons to be ugly. Puguh renamed Togog while backs to Semar. Both were relegated to the world as a nanny of Samba descent, who later held Batara Guru. Meanwhile, Manan gets forgiveness because she just went along with it. Manan then performed Batara Narada and was appointed as a counselor of Batara Guru.

In the manuscript of Purwacarita narrated, Sanghyang Tunggal is married to Dewi Rekatawati son of Sanghyang Rekatatama. From the marriage was born a luminous egg. Single Sanghyang with a feeling of annoyance slammed the egg so that it broke into three parts, namely shell, white, and egg yolks. All three are transformed into men. Which comes from the shell is named Antaga, which comes from egg white is named Ismaya, while derived from the yellow is named Manikmaya. One day Antaga and Ismaya were at odds because each wanted to be the heir to heaven's throne. Both also held a mountain swallowing race. Antaga tried to devour the mountain with a single swallow but instead had an accident. His mouth was torn and his eyes widened. Ismaya uses another way, that is by eating the mountain little by little. After passing bebarpa all parts of the mountain moved into the body of Ismaya, but he did not succeed. As a result since then Ismaya was round body. The Single Sanghyang is furious about the ambitions and greed of his two sons. They were punished as caregivers of Manikmaya's descendants than was appointed king of heaven, titled Batara Guru. Antaga and Ismaya came down to the world. Each uses the name Togog and Semar.


In the wayang narrated, Batara Ismaya while still in the heaven had been mated with his cousin named Dewi Senggani. From the marriage was born ten children, namely:

Semar as the incarnation of Ismaya served for the first time to Resi Manumanasa, the ancestors of the Pandavas. One day Semar was attacked by two red and white tigers. Manumanasa shoots them both into the original form, a pair of angels named Kanistri and Kaniraras. Thanks to the help of Manumanasa, the two nymphs have been freed from the curse that they live. Kanistri later became Semar's wife, and was commonly called as Kanastren. Meanwhile, Kaniraras became Manumanasa's wife, and her name was changed to Retnawati, because Manumanasa's sister was also named Kaniraras.

In the puppet of Central Java, Semar is always accompanied by his children, namely Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong. But in fact the three are not Semar's children. Gareng is the son of a priest who is cursed and freed by Semar. Petruk is the son of a Gandharwa king. While Bagong created from the shadow of Semar thanks to the magic word Resi Manumanasa.
In the Sundanese puppet, the order of Semar's children is Cepot, Dawala, and Gareng. Meanwhile, in Javanese wayang puppetry, Semar is only accompanied by one child alone, named Bagong, who also has a son named Besut.



Semar has a very unique physical form, as if it is a symbol of the depiction of the universe. Its round body is a symbol of the earth, the dwelling place of mankind and other creatures.
Semar always smiled, but puffy eyes. This depiction is a symbol of joy and sorrow. His face is old but his haircut is tumbling like a child, as a symbol of old and young. He is male, but has breasts like women, as a symbol of men and women. He is a god incarnation but lives as a commoner, as a symbol of superiors and subordinates.

PRIVILEGED SEMAR              

Semar is a puppet of a local poet. Although his status only as a servant, but his nobility parallel to King Krishna in the story of Mahabharata. If in the war of westayuda according to the original version, the Pandavas advisor is only a Krishna, then in puppet, the number is added in two, and the other is Semar.
Semar in literature is shown only as a caregiver of Resi Manumanasa's descendants, especially the Pandavas who are the main characters of the Mahabharata story. However, in the puppet show with the theme of Ramayana, the dalang also used to display Semar as the caretaker of Sri Rama or Sugriwa family. It is as if Semar always appears in every puppet show, no matter what title is being told.
In puppet, Semar acts as a guardian of the warrior class, while Togog as caregiver of the giants. It is certain that Semar's foster children can always beat Togog's foster children. This is actually a mere symbol. Semar is an illustration of the fusion of the little people and the gods of heaven. So, if the government - symbolized as the Semar knights - listens to the voice of the little people who are like the voice of God, then the country he leads must be a superior and sentimental nation.


In his ijtihad, Sunan Kalijaga uses wayang as a way of dakwah. Despite the opposition of some of the guardians at that time, Sunan Kalijaga managed to do ijtihad for puppets to be accepted by other guardians by changing their shape so as not to be similar to humans.

Sunan Kalijaga makes wayang in a flat shape, long hands along the size of the body, and a long nose made. In addition, Sunan Kalijaga also makes puppets face different, unique, and describe their own character.

Ijtihad Sunan Kalijaga's other da'wah lies in the making of characters in puppets not found in wayang in Hindu and Buddhist versions. The most prominent is the holding of four characters known as Punakawan. There are four comrades consisting of Semar, Bagong, Petruk, and Gareng.

Each of them has a unique character and has a philosophy of dakwah is very admirable. Described by Rachmatullah Oky in From Room Room, Semar is derived from one word in Arabic, Mismar which means a nail. Because of difficult to pronounce, the tongue of Java people also recite with semar.

Nails have balancing and strengthening characters. Nails that are strongly embedded also symbolize a solid principle, not easily shaken. Semar then, is also a symbol of religious values ​​are solid, fixed, and can not be changed. In addition, still referring to the same explanation, Semar shaped a smiling figure but dripping down his tears, old-faced but has a childish knit like a child, and not obviously male or female. Its meaning is a balance that must exist among all believers.

Sometimes sad, there is a happy time. Both are waged and must be addressed wisely. Semar in the character created by Sunan Kalijaga is an all-round person who became the principal teacher or caregiver to all Pandhawa. Anyone who is in Semar's mentoring, he will be free from danger.This is what explains that semar is a symbol of religion. He saved his followers from error and led him to the happiness of the world and the salvation of the Hereafter. Religion, in this case Islam, also balances.

He is a mid in worldliness until one gets happy in the afterlife. He is also an entertainer in many ways, because the life of the world is often unfair.


Collection IAMB;

Qiuanlong Yixing porcelain tea pot; High 14,cm

 lot 77 AAG Amsterdam withdrawn; 17122017

Een Chinese gedeeltelijk vergulde Yixing theepot met


20e eeuw

De rechthoekige theepot gedecoreerd met vergulde reliëf-

panelen met Onsterfelijken in een landschap, de tuit en

greep met kraanvogels omgeven door symbolen, met een

apocrief Qianlong merk.

H. 13.5 cm

Yixing teapot specification  compairing of 2 pots (NOT the ones as being sold at Zeeuws veiling house)

Yixing Qianlong teapot.                            B.

Partly gilded.                                                 Partly gilded

Height: 10,95 cm                                          11,04 cm

Wide: 10,18 cm; inclusive handle and       10.09+

 spout: 18,93 cm                                            19,25

Deep: 10,15 cm                                              10,17

Diameter lidhole: 66,85 cm *                        66,62

Length spout: 60,49                                       62,50

Retangular hole in spout: 0,54 x 0,53 cm   0,62x0,59

Pothandle heigth 7,76 cm                             8,17

Lid: diameter 7,74 cm                                    7,68

Heigth: 4,21 cm (included knob)                  4,18

Rim inside: 6,13 cm                                         6,18

Rim outside: 6,65*                                            6,65

Heigth rim 1,36 cm                                           1,30

Airing hole through lid into knob                         V

No spout sieveholes inside                                  V

Small damage on rim, chip                                  X

Inside imprints of fabrics.                                    V

Bears a seal.                                                            V same

Note: both pots spout to right both figures on same level; Same as auction type sold, however spout to left.

References, as described in Yixing pottery: Emperor Qianlong, laquer encasing


Qiuanlong Yixing porcelain tea pot sale.

Ssold by 'Zeeuws Veilng House'NL.   estimated at € 24,000 sold 104,00 incl (2015)                                          Zeeuws Veiling Huis Hamerprijs: € 80.000,-Indentical Tea pot as sold by 'Zeeuws Veiling Huis'; partly gilded, ; Yixing tea pot, sealed Qianlong. Height 14,5 cm.;


Yixing Zisha pottery; Place, cultural indentity and the impacts of modernity by FEI WU.

A thesis submitted in partical fulillment of the requirements for the degree of master of arts dep. of antropology University of Alberta, Fei Wu 2015


ARTS OF CHINA‘Yixing (pottery)

Tde 'WorCcC of Chinese ‘Tea CuCture' ILL.


 Zisha had experienced two divergent schools in the form of an independent craftwork system in the middle of Ming Dynasty to the middle of Qing Dynasty. The first school appeared in the Wanli reign in the middle of Ming Dynasty. A group of famous craftsmen appeared in that time, like Shi Dabin and Xu Youquan. During this period, sgsha teapots attracted many elements and characteristics from copper and stannum (silver or lead alloy) ware as well as Ming-style furniture, which showed a strong influence on later veined ware. The second school came at the ending of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty. The creativity of master craftsmen, such as Chen Zhongmei and Chen Mingyuan, brought tremendous advances in the refinement of ^isha ware. During the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianglong eras of the Qing Dynasty, Zisha still enjoyed tremendous prosperity

Yixing Teapot Maker's Marks

Yixing Teapot "Zisha" Clay Pottery Maker's Marks.

Yixing clay teapots , also called "Zisha", or Purple clay are made from Yixing clay. This traditional style of tea pot originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from clay produced near Yixing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

Archaeological excavations reveal that as early as the Song Dynasty (10th century) potters near Yixing were using local "zisha" (literally, "purple sand/clay") to make utensils that may have functioned as teapots. According to the Ming Dynasty author Zhou Gaoqi, during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, a monk from Jinsha Temple (Golden Sand Temple) in Yixing handcrafted a fine quality teapot from local clay. Such teapots soon became popular with the scholarly class, and the fame of Yixing teapots began to spread.

Today Yíxing teapots are actually made in nearby Dingshan, also known as Dingshu, on the west side of Lake Tai. Hundreds of teapot shops line the edges of the town's crowded streets and it is a popular tourist destination for many Chinese. While Dingshan is home to dozens of ceramics factories, Yíxing Zisha Factory Number 1, which opened in 1958, processes a large part of the clay used in the region, produces fine pottery ware, and has a large commercial showroom.

Having an interest in collecting Chinese Yixing Teapots, I decided to create this list of Yixing teapots marks since there appears to be none available elsewhere online.  The list is an incomplete one, mostly since there are literally thousands of different marks spanning several centuries, and two, this list of Yixing makers marks will be a continued work in progress requiring much effort and research.

Most of the Yixing teapot maker's marks listed are of specific potters, however, a few of them are shop names.   Only the basic information is provided at this time as I have just begun preparing this page, which will become a very extensive list with detailed information.  Hopefully the information given will be enough for you to research your Yixing teapot further.

 Yuan 20th cent.  56 cm backside underglaze charger;  20th cent Yuan 56 cm

Zodiack HAN PERIOD ceramic figurine; H appox 15 cm; Oxford TL tested >8o0<1500 years old

indo/african-Camaroun? Statue mask; H. approx 50 cm


ruyi cloisonné  

China, Republic of China period, Cloisonne ruyi scepter with intricate floral and vine pattern and heavily gilded edges and front. Length 21 1/2 in.

Lit: Exh. catalogue,  Liefde uitde Hermitage' ; Love from the Hermitage,; Amsterdam 2004 P.184:'..Ruyi staff is a phallic symbol...in use of rituele defloer, masturbation  and/or lesbian action,,,,;

References to: A cloisonné enamel ruyi sceptre. 18th century

Lempertz Lot 1179

Estimated price €3.000 - €4.000  Result: €6.820

A cloisonné enamel ruyi sceptre. 18th century

With a slightly curved handle decorated with three gilt-metal plaques with bats, fish, fruits and shou characters in openwork, dragon cartouches, and the emblems of the Eight Immortals, all on a blue ground, the reverse of the ruyi head with lotus and scrolls on a light green ground. Restored. Length 42 cm

AND: Fine Chinese Works of Art

Ruyi a smalti cloisonnè con motivi floreali e placche applicate in bronzo dorato con decoro a rilievo ...

Stima: EUR 1.500,00 - 2.000,00 Ruyi a smalti cloisonnè con motivi floreali e placche applicate in bronzo dorato con decoro a rilievo di pipistrelli e nuvole, Cina, XX secolo
cm 43

Dipartimenti Arte Orientale Stima


ruyi Celluloid?

 Ruyi scepter (dildo!); L39 x W11 cm

Ref.: 81326318750

 Celluloid (?) vases (2)  

Pair of celluloid (?) vases

 turtle(?) celluloid (?) carved pair of baluster vases;  H20x7x7cm ;signature; loose cranebirds birds; withdrawn from    AAG auction ; 271017 lot 74; H. approx 20 cm; bears signatures  

snuff bottle

Snuff bottle H 8,2 cm; painted figures in mountinous landscape, with Qianlong mark

Ex AAG # 115. nov. 2017

references is made to the Bloch collection look- a- like:

A small painted enamel 'European subject' snuff bottle, Qianlong four-character mark in blue emanel and of the period (1736-1795)Estimate £15,000 – £20,000 ($22,710 - $30,280). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015 ; Christie's. APPRECIATING ELEGANCE: ART FROM THE SUI YUAN ZHAI COLLECTION, 11 May 2015, London, King Street

Each side of the bottle is delicately painted with a cartouche within a floral border, enclosing a pastoral scene with two European ladies engaged in conversation under a tall tree. Overall 2 ½ in. (6.2 cm.) high including gilt-metal stopper

Provenance: Bonham's London, 10 July 2006, lot 334.

Note: The current snuff bottle reflects the fascination of the Qianlong Emperor with Western subjects, which appear on both porcelain and metal enamelled wares produced during his reign. This Occidentalism mirrors the Orientalism seen in the fascination of the European courts with Chinese subjects. As is often the case, the European figures on this snuff bottle are depicted with reddish-brown hair, an aspect of Western appearance which intrigued many Chinese citizens at the time.

porcelain oxblood vase; qianlong seal(1735-1795) [ 19th-20th cent.? ; height 21 cm

Yongzheng(?) (1723-1735) blue/greenish vase; 19th-20th cent.?; Height 27 cm

Jubilation cups; height 2-8 cm; keratine horn.

Toys, japanse celluloid

Chinese paperweigths; hard wood copper with repousse design of bats;  stone; porcelain, blueish, greenish

Song period?

  wood figurine; Budistattva;  height +/-50 cm; polychrome; 19/20th cent?


The Making of Buddhist Wood Sculptures in China

By Guoying Stacy Zhang

Buddhistdoor Global | 2017-01-27 |

According to the Ekottara Agama Sutra (增一阿含經), the first Buddha image was made of wood. It is said that when the Buddha was teaching his deceased mother in the Trayastrimsa heaven, King Udayana of Vatsa in ancient India could not bear his absence and thus made a sandalwood image of the Buddha.

In China, wooden sculptures have been produced throughout the history of Buddhism. However, as the craft was mainly passed down orally among artisans, little is known about the wood species and construction techniques involved. In Japan, where wood is a more predominant and widely used material in sculpture, there have been systematic and scientific studies since the 1960s,* while in China similar work has not been conducted.

Beginning in 1985, largely prompted by conservation issues, Western museums and scientists published research analyses of more than 60 Chinese Buddhist wooden sculptures, dating from the Sui (581–618) to the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. These sculptures are now housed in museum collections in Europe and North America, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée Guimet in Paris, the Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Brussels, the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst in Cologne, the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Völkerkundemuseum in Munich.** 

To investigate how Buddhist sculptures were made in China, I synthesized the abovementioned scientific studies, cross-referenced Buddhist and art historical literature, and observed specific objects in museum collections. It is by no means a comprehensive study, but it is still possible to illuminate some characteristics of the subject and clear away some misconceptions that have been held even among scholars.

Through microscopic identification, the following wood species were identified: willow (), poplar (杨树), limewood or linden (椴木), foxglove-tree (泡桐), juniper (刺柏), and sandalwood (檀香) at the genus level, and at the species level, Euphrates poplar () and Formosan sweetgum (枫香树). As indicated in the table below (Fig. 2), during each period, various species of wood were used; most wood species were used continuously throughout history. There does not seem to be a pattern as is the case in Japan, where certain types of wood became dominant in a specific period.