Antique Figurine of a Foreigner, China (16857WCK)


H: 5.25″  W: 4.5″  D: 2.87″   FREE SHIPPING WITHIN CONTINENTAL U.S.!

This 19th-century miniature wood figure is a finely and whimsically carved portly seated merchant. He is depicted as a Laowai or “old foreigner” with a westernized face and hat and oversized hands placed on his knees. Seated on a platform base, he wears garments reflective of the Chinese culture at this time but wears a hat that is clearly not of Chinese origin. Other indications this charming figure is a foreigner include the roundness of his face, western facial features and oversized hands.


Since the Han Dynasty when the Silk Roads opened trade with the rest of the world and especially during the Tang Dynasty, pottery and carved wood images of foreigners were popular in China. The term Silk Roads refers to the network of routes used by traders for over 1,500 years starting when the Han dynasty opened trade in 130 B.C.E. until 1453 C.E., when the Ottoman Empire closed the route to the West. The Silk Roads contributions to  history are enormous; it triggered an economic expansion and the arrival of new religions and ideas as well as the exchange of goods, technologies and innovations that changed the world. China’s exposure to and fascination with traders from the East, the Muslim world and Europe was reflected in art and culture as seen in images created of foreigners to whom the Chinese  were exposed for the first time. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving The carving is in very good condition with most of its lacquer and gilt finish intact and with surface losses and scratches consistent with age and wear.

Additional information


Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique


Place of Origin


Dimensions (inches)

5.25" x 3.12" x 2.87"

Dimensions (metric)

13.3 cm x 7.9 cm x 7.3cm


Very good, losses from wear and use, no restorations/repairs

Item Number



5 oz

Shipping Box Size