Antique Rare Carving of a Huntsman with Rifle, China (16743WHK)
H: 9″ W: 3.625″ D: 3.5″
This unusual ancestor-huntsman figure is like a similar example in the collection of described by the notable scholar Keith Stephens as “An Unusual and Extraordinary Ancestral Image” standing with legs spread firmly on a plain rounded triangular base holding an 19th century flint lock rifle while scouting for prey. Much of original paint has been lost or covered by darkened lacquer, but the flesh tone on the face and remnants of red and white paint remain.
The Keith Stevens’ article “An Unusual and Extraordinary Ancestral Image” describes a similar figure of a huntsman with a weapon, a flintlock gun, which he stated was the only ancestral image in his vast collection which “depicts the calling of the deceased.” (Stevens, Journal of Hong Kong) His piece was from Hunan, South Central China, and we were informed that our image was also from near that area. Like the Stevens’ collection image, ours has lost most of its original paint except for the skin color on its face and red traces on the front, since ancestral images are “usually weathered by exposure to sub-tropical damp and heat which removes much of the original paint within a decade or so.” (Stevens Chinese Gods, p. 27). Standing on a simple domed pedestal, our antique-Chinese-wood-carving was made in the round, the huntsman facing half right holding a flint lock wearing a hunting coat, a two-level fotou (typical Ming or Qing dynasties headware), a traditional under- and outer-garment, and thick boots. Stevens dates his piece about 1870 based on the flint lock which is thus likely the date of our folk-art carving. Ancestor-figures like this were displayed on a home altar that reflect the duty of filial piety and ancestor-worship. The curved bung on the back cavity is molded to the shape of his leaning body with its consecrated contents. Carved from a single piece of dense wood, it is in very good condition with the rifle end reattached and its lacquer covered from exposure to incense and candle smoke. All ancestor-figures are part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection.
Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force
Keith Stevens, Journal of the Honk Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 18, 1978.
Keith Stevens, “An Unusual and Extraordinary Ancestral Image “in Journal of Hong Kong Vol 13, 1998.
Keith Stevens, Chinese Gods: The Unseen World of Spirits and Demons, London, Collins and Brown, 1997.
The Canterbury Auction Galleries, The Three Day Sale to include The Keith Stevens Collection, October 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2016.
|Dimensions||12 × 9 × 6 in|
|Place of Origin||
Antique, Qing Dynasty
|Materials and Technique||
Ht: 9” W: 3.625” D: 3.5”
: Ht: 22.22cm W: 9.21cm D: 8.89cm
Very good, see description
6” to 11.9”
|Shipping Box Size|