Chinese Shiwan (Shekwan) Ware | Filial Daughter-in-law Feeding Elder Parent | 1890-1900

We must introduce the history behind this figure in an effort to explain what it represents. ‘Filial piety’, or ‘Filial devotion’, is considered among the oldest and greatest of virtues of Asian people, and is shown towards both the living and the dead. The term “filial”, meaning of a child, denotes the respect and devotion that a child, (originally a son), shows to his/her parents, especially to the father.

This very rare Shiwan figurine illustrates the devotion between daughter and elderly father. She gives him nourishment, as he grows weaker by age, and gently embraces his shoulder. The glazed portions are exceptionally executed using the standard blue, green and yellow ochre colors, contrasting with the unglazed portions of her face, body and hand, and his face, hand and walking stick. Both his and her features are beautifully detailed, from the flower in her hair, her earrings, his glazed eyebrows, and the details of their faces. Their robes are wonderfully detailed, with folds representing the natural draping of the fabric.

Condition: Excellent: no chips or missing elements, repairs or crazing. The piece has the impressed seal, “CHINA” on the bottom indicating this piece was made around 1919. After that time, the mark changed. The piece is attributed to artist Huo Jin. Dimensions: 3-0”w x 5-0””h (7.6cm x 12.7cm).

Additional Information —

The main source of our knowledge of the importance of this subject is the book entitled: Filial Piety, a work attributed to Confucius but almost certainly written in the third century BC. Filial Piety has continued to play a central role in Confucian thinking to the present day.

Please refer to our Discovery section for historical information on Shiwan Ceramics | Mud Figure and in our Book section, for out- of-print books for sale on the subject.

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