High Status

In China, high rank (Guì rén 贵人) is a wish for noble status. During the Qing dynasty the highest rank of nobility was the gentry or the literati (scholars) who were Imperial Court Officials a position which could be inherited by their sons who passed the difficult series of Imperial Civil Service Examinations that granting immediate status as an imperial or government official. As a result of the Qing dynasty’s expansion and changing ethnic composition, a re-definition of inherited ranks resulted in 14 ranks and 20 sub-ranks for all court officials and the Manchu family. A lesser gentry status of Civilian Official was attainable by anyone who passed the Imperial Civil Service Examinations. Those of high status in most cultures had the means to purchase more expensive, well-made clothing and other items, many of which were emblems of their wealth, influence and high status.. An example of this in Western culture is the difference between every day utilitarian unndecorated pottery for Roman common folk, where the emphasis would be on a piece’s utility and not its beauty and higher quality ceramics such as ARS (African red slip wares) and even more epensive, higher quality pottery and other status symbols only the rich could afford.

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  • Antique Ancestor In Mandarin Attire, China


    This masterfully carved ancestor as a mandarin official sits on horseshoe chair set on a footed high decorated plinth dressed in a well-appointed formal 3-button Mandarin long coat, pointed rattan hat. His face is uniquely and unusually very individualized with heavy lidded eyes, in a benevolent expression and his advanced aged indicated by the wrinkles clearly depicting a loved individual. It is in excellent condition with a fine patina. This exquisitely carved image was true homage to a revered family member and is one of our finest ancestor figures.


  • Antique Carved Official or Ancestor in Red Robe, China


    Dressed in a red robe with a high neck collar, extremely wide sleeves extending below the knees and a belt around his waist, this is a civil official or an ancestor standing on a rectangular base with hands together wearing along red civil official’s robe that extends to his shoes but has no rank badge indicated. The piece is in very good condition with much of its original pigmentation/lacquer finish and minor cracks and lacquer losses.

  • Antique Female Attendant with Offerings, China


    This delicately carved seated female attendant in polychrome and lacquer probably accompanied Buddhist, Taoist, or Popular Religion images and ancestor figures on a home altar. With her hands held at her chest covered by a ritual cloth she hold an offering bowl. She has a blissful expression, pursed lips in a serene smile, eyes downcast reverently, and hair flowing down her back under a decorative cap and wears a traditional high collared outer robe over a shorter undergarment with a broad sash hanging to the garment hem. It is in very good condition with expected paint, scratches, and losses consistent with age.


  • Antique Mandarin Official Ancestor Figure, China


    This well-carved  and remarkable ancestor figure is a lower-level Mandarin Civilian official seated on an armless yoke-back chair mounted on a plain rectangular base. He wears a traditional Mandarin jacket, an ankle-length skirt and a black velvet cap for winter or rattan woven hat in summer. His left hand is on his knee while the clenched right rests on the other one in an iconic Mandarin official pose. He is extremely well-carved with facial details showing his advanced age and he exudes an air of authority and status. In contrast to idealized ancestors, he is more individualized reflecting aspects of the actual person portrayed.


  • Antique Rare Set of Ming Ceramic Attendants, China


    This fine set of three elegant Ming dynasty attendants – one male and two female – are in a unique category of refinement and elegance that reflects the importance and high status of the tomb, deceased and the family for which they were made. Standing on hexagonal bases with arms folded below their chests and presenting offerings to the deceased, their clothing and parts of the bases have a rare cobalt blue glaze, two have yellow glazed areas and all have painted unglazed areas. Their removable heads are highly detailed and beautifully modeled fitting inside high collars.  These figures are presented and sold as a remarkable set reflecting their original presentation and condition.

  • Antique Seated Ancestor Official, China


    This finely carved ancestor as an official garbed in officials attire and hat sits in a horseshoe chair with his feet on a pedestal stool, all details meant to emphasize his power and status. His finely and realistically carved features, pigment and lacquer on the front and back and the overall in warm tones of red lacquer faded over years of use with traces of gilt makes this a truly a special image with a great patina.

  • Antique Song Tile of Vase with Flowers, China


    This earthenware brick tile bordered with a deep scalloped frame depicts a vase with a bouquet of propitious flowers: a chrysanthemum and a peony wrapped with an elegant ribbon. Tiles like this were made to decorate the large numbers of buildings created during the prosperous Song dynasty and to adorn tombs. This elegant brick is in good condition for its age with expected chips and cracks, some restoration of background and a re-glued frame break on each side. It has earth adherents from its burial in a tomb.

  • Han Dynasty Bronze Dagger-Axe (ge), China


    First developed in the Shang dynasty, the Chinese dagger-axe (ge) was used as a military weapon through the Han dynasty. A dagger-shaped blade was mounted to a pole or shaft and secured using its tang (shank) and the holes on the two sections of its body. In general, dagger-axes have been found without a shaft as they decomposed or were removed. This piece comes with its uniquely made box. With expected minor losses, mineral deposits, some corrosion, verdigris forming naturally over time and the loss of its point this dagger is in good condition despite its great age. It is very similar to the other ge on our site.

  • Han Dynasty Bronze Dagger-Axe, China


    An ancient military weapon, bronze dagger-axes like this were used for millennia. It consists of a pointed blade, rear and low protrusions with openings for attaching to a shaft to allow it to be used as a a thrusting and swinging-motion weapon. It was mounted  and secured to a pole or shaft through the openings on its two perpendicular sections. This ge is a fascinating piece of military history and is in very good condition with minor losses and some verdigris expected in an ancient and roughly used bronze pieces.

  • Han Dynasty Bronze Dragon Belt Hook


    This Han bronze belt hook is fashioned as a dragon with intense eyes. A button-like extension on its underside affixes to a belt hole, and the hook is positioned horizontally to attach to clothing. Belt hooks were used in life and then buried with the diseased to accompany him on his journey to the afterlife.  In very good condition, it has not been cleaned and has normal pitting and surface losses due to its two millennia-old burial in a humid tomb that has heavily oxidized over the years and, therefore, has beautiful verdigris deposits.

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