Condition: Excellent

Chinese Shiwan (Shekwan) Ware | Begging Monk P’ang Yun | Budai | 1900s

This image of a quiet and eccentric Buddhist monk lived much of his life as a hermit. He was known as a poet and calligrapher, always communing with nature, which represents the essence of Buddhism.

He did, also, reject the snare of wealth and worldly. He was prosperous in his youth, but decided that he worried too much about his wealth, so he decided to get rid of it. Initially, he was going to give his wealth away, but then thought that whoever received his wealth would become as attached to it as he had. So, instead, he piled all his worldly goods on a boat, floated it out to the middle of a lake, and sank it.

The begging bowl shows the monk’s determination to give up earthly possessions. It used to be one of the only possessions that was allowed and was used by priests to go out to beg for alms. He has a simple blue room trimmed in yellow ochre. His chest is bare, and head and hands are unglazed. The most interesting feature of this piece is that his baldhead is made separately from the body, and fits perfectly to hold in a gestured position. The face is beautifully and intricately carved with his mouth wide open, showing his teeth and very expressive eyes that are somewhat three-dimensional. His ears are realistically carved. His simple cream-colored glazed bowl tells the story.

Condition: Pristine and excellent: no chips or missing elements, repairs or crazing. This piece is unsigned and made in the early 1900s. Dimensions: 4-0”w x 9-0”h (10.6cm x 23.0cm).

Additional Information: 

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

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