Condition: Excellent

Vintage Shiwan Art Pottery | Double Mud Man Figurine | Seated Fisherman & Scholar

This is a Vintage Ceramic Double (rare) Figurine of a fisherman holding his fishing pole with the catch of the day on the string, casually sitting on a garden seat with table, talking with a scholar holding his fly whisk (hossu) in his right hand. The figures have unglazed faces and hands but glazed hair, eyebrows, beards and long robes. Age: 20th century (1940). Unidentified signature stamp on the bottom edge. Good details and color, no chips, repairs or crazing. Dimensions: 4-0”h x 4-0”w 2-3/8”d (10.2cm x 10.2cm x 5.8cm)

History and Characteristics | Shiwan Art Pottery
As an important part of Chinese traditional culture, ceramic wares have a long history reflecting the customs of this ancient culture. One of the most famous types of ceramic works is called Shiwan (Shekwan) ware, which has been the shining star in Chinese folk ceramic art as early as the Tang and Song Dynasties (618-906AD), and which flourished in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Chinese classical Shiwan ware is a type of traditional pottery that comes from the talented artists of a small town located in the south of China called Shiwan, in Foshan City, famous for its culture and pottery. Here craftsmen are well-known for their glazing techniques and unique forms. All the sculptural work is hand-formed and sometimes involves numerous family members within a village, while directed by a master craftsman, so that every object is unique and therefore, a limited edition, which attracts art collectors the world over. The three largest collections of Shiwan Art Pottery are housed in the Hong Kong Fung Ping Shan Museum and the Chinese Cultural Centre in San Francisco.

The main thrust of Shiwan Art Pottery ranges from artistic ceramics, ancient garden ceramics, elaborate roof tiles, stone-resembled tile, stone-porcelain tile and artistic garden tiles, and are especially famous worldwide, particularly figurines, both large and small. There are numerous art masters who have developed an outstanding tradition of creative Shiwan ceramic arts, ranging from realistic human figures (men, women (rarest), wise men and old sages), holding rare accessories (books, flutes, scrolls, pots, fish on fishing poles, and other objects of mystical importance), animal and zodiac forms, miniature sculptures, and tile-bridge pottery sculptures all based on particular local styles, customs, and local techniques. This unique artistic style made Shiwan ceramics extraordinarily splendid (not to be confused with Chinese export mud men, which were smaller figures made of mud-like clay forced into a mold or finger-formed, and used as backdrops in bonsai, planters and aquariums. These lack the expression, detail, and individuality of handmade pieces).

Vintage (1940)Shiwan figurines and sculptures are quite rare because of their delicate, fragile nature. The greater the detailing, the more likely the figure has been made by a master artist, hence the higher value. Also the larger the piece the more valuable (8” or larger; pieces over 20” tall are extremely rare). The age of Shiwan ware can be verified by the markings, or lack of markings, the figural forms, decorative elements, the regional clay type (sandy, course clay is the oldest), and stylistic differences. Finally, pieces signed or stamped by the artist/craftsman are rare, and indicate the importance of the craftsman. The oldest Shiwan pieces, prior to 1890, will not have a signature or stamp. A mark of simply “CHINA” or “HONG KONG” is from 1890-1919. From 1920-1951 the words “MADE IN CHINA” was added to the mark. Since 1952, the stamp will include a number since they were mass-produced.

Summary of Characteristics:
Shiwan pottery is hand-formed; primitive in sculpting techniques; vivid in imagery; rich in hand-glazed colors (yellow, blue green, red purple, pale blue, brown and white) and demonstrates exceptional three-dimensional techniques, unglazed clay faces, hands and feet, and exceptional expressive detailing.

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