Antique Chinese Shiwan Ware

Antique Chinese Republic Shiwan (Shekwan) Pottery | Daoist Immortal | Li Tie Guai | Signed Pan Yushu

$2,320.00

Age:1890-1919

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 8-0”w x 11-1/2”L x 5-0”h

This extremely large piece shows LI TIE GUAI resting on his yellow ochre glazed medicine gourd. He is extremely well defined from the folds in his deep “pomegranate red” glazed robe accented with celadon undertones, to his extremely well-defined black hair, eyebrows, beard, and exposed body, which is glazed in a brown skin color. The element that stands out is his large gourd, which carries the medicine he dispenses to those who are sick, or have been alienated from society. This figure has an incised mark identifying the artist being Pan Yushu, and was made early in the 20th/Century. This piece is from the Estate of Rudolph Schaeffer, (1886-1988) who headed the School of Art & Design in Chinatown & Potrero Hill San Francisco which closed in 1984. He had an extremely large collection of Chinese artifacts and particularly Shiwan Art pottery. 
This figure represents a legendary Chinese mythological character who is a member of the eight immortals. He is benevolent to the poor, sick, and needy, whose suffering he eliminated with special medicine from his gourd, (believed to contain medicine powerful enough to revive the dead). According to legend, one day he told his follower that his spirit was going to travel far away, and to watch his body for seven days while he was gone. It was a big shock when the tired spirit returned home from his trip to find no place to go, because his body had been cremated. He thus became a beggar and sensitive to the needs of the sick and under-privileged. Though all the other immortals are handsome, young, noble, and wise, Li TIE GUAI remains the most favorite of the immortal.
Vintage Condition: This is an extremely beautiful figure and as originally made. The front leg was expertly repaired by a specialist prior to purchase and shows no crazing. The professional repair does not distract from the appreciation, use or value of the piece and is typically done when a piece has historic significance and value. “As is” and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted.  
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, 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. Original Shiwan figurines, (1880-1940), are extremely rare because the art/craftsmanship and 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, (8-0” or pieces over 20.0” tall) are extremely rare. The age of Shiwan ware can be verified by the markingsor lack of markings, the fact that they are hand-formed, depicting highly expressive figural forms and vivid imagery; primitive in sculpting techniques; the decorative elements associated with the figure; the deep rich glazes infused with the piece; the type of regional clay (sandy, course clay is the oldest), and the stylistic differences. Finally, pieces signed or stamped by the artist/craftsman are rare. The oldest Shiwan pieces, prior to 1890, will not have a signature or stamp. 
DO NOT CONFUSE MUDMEN / MUD FIGURES WITH SHIWAN WARE!  This unique artistic style made Shiwan ceramics extraordinarily splendid, (not to be confused with the export mud men, which were smaller figures made of mud-like clay forced into a mold and/or finger-formed, and used as decorative additions to in bonsai, planters and aquariums). These lack the expression, detail, and individuality of their glazed handmade counterparts). © 2019 — Vermillion Publishing