(1644-1912) The Qing (Ch’ing) dynasty also called the Great Qing and Manchu dynasty for the peoples that seized control from the Hans, the Qing was the longest and last Chinese imperial dynasty spanning almost 250 years. Called China’s “Golden Era,” it was a time of great expansion, the empire’s territory and population tripled from 150 million to 450 million, its economy was integrated and its culture was totally transformed. The Peking opera was initiated and prospered, a dictionary of Chinese characters was published, large encyclopedias and collections on Chinese literature were written, poetry and literature reached its heights, its printing industry grew by bounds, blue and white porcelain and jade carving reached its apogee, China’s top two universities were founded, the first canons were developed, the Manchus adopted Chinese culture as its own allowing further cultural achievements, reemphasized the teachings of Confucianism and instituted government efficiency and obedience to the legal system. During the Ming and Qing dynasties Popular Religion flourished with temples created through China, especially in the South. Use of carved figures of ancestors, deities, heroes and Buddhist images flourished, displayed in temples, clan settings and in homes on private altars. Unfortunately, China’s archaic feudal system fueled its backwardness, allowed foreign trade in only four regions and restricted foreign exchanges missing much of the industrial revolution and gradually bringing on its decline. Most of our Chinese collection is from this era.

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  • Antique Carved Guanyin on Lotus Pedestal, China


    This Guanyin image was probably one of a pair of images along with the Taoist Queen Mother of the West placed together on a community, local temple or home altar.  Created by the same local artisan, they  are provincial rather than imperial style with a humble, unadorned and simple rendering, seated on backless thrones, hands covered by a ritual cloth –  uncharacteristic of Guanyin but common for Taoist goddesses. Both wear layered robes and a high pointed crown – the Queen Mother’s centered by a phoenix and Guanyin’s by a flower surrounded by symbolic aureole of radiating light. Both have soft blissful smiles with eyes cast slightly downwards to engage their devotees. Initially covered in bright polychrome colors, there are traces of surviving red, yellow, green, brown and black.

  • 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 Puppet Head on Acrylic Stand, China


    Antique Chinese puppets were often made in several parts, with the head being removable. This antique female carved wood head of a beauty has delicately painted features with a porcelain white face with animal hair braided down the back. Since there is an area without hair towards the back, it may have had a headdress.  A hole on top probably accommodated strings. Mounted on a frosted acrylic base, it is in good condition with surface losses and a ding on the left side of the face consistent with age and use.

  • Antique Lacquer Cabinet on Carved Stand with Interior Drawer, China


    This small decorative elm lacquer storage cabinet has two carved and lacquered red doors with with a gilt frame and doors with attached raised panels with black and gilt  auspicious paintings of birds and florals. Pieces like this were often placed on or near a kang, the Chinese home sleeping platform also used for working, living, and entertaining. It was  convenient for storage and low enough to double as a small table. It  is made of two parts, the main section sits on a carved stand with horseshoe feet and  opens to a wide interior drawer. The sparkling border around the doors is probably inset with crushed shells.  The decorative metal pulls on the doors and drawer are original.  As with many Qing vernacular cabinets, the lacquer frame is in excellent condition while the raised painted panels are cracked with paint losses.

  • Antique Low Lacquered Wood Table, China


    This charming small antique wood cabinet has two intricately carved drawers for storage and was probably made from elmwood.  Its low profile and fine lacquered finish add warmth and a touch of antique fine craftsmanship lends itself to a multitude of uses in any setting.  Auspicious symbols to bring blessings of fu carved on it include peonies and vines surrounding the butterfly pull, plum blossom and a Japanese lily on the left. The two sides have inset panel with florals and the bottom of the three sides has a decorative apron with fretwork vine design. It is covered with a warm patina which extends to the detailed brass butterfly handles. The drawers have marvelous carved wood designs.

  • Antique Official in Red Robes with a Hu, China


    This ancestor figure portrayed as an official sits on a backless chair upon a high decorative pedestal upon which his feet rest. He wears the attire of an official: a futou cap; high collared red robe with double belt above and below his ample stomach that extending to the top of his black shoes. Both hands formally rest on his thighs, the right holding a long slender curved hu tablet. The holes above his lip and on his chin with short hairs indicate the presence of a mustache and beard now partially lost and the entire face is gilt. Gilt on his face and red pigmentation signify fu as well as reinforcing his high status.


  • Antique Porcelain Famille Rose Laughing Buddha, China


    Known as the Laughing, Happy, or Fat Buddha, Budai is regarded as a deity of contentment and plenty. Like most Early Chinese Republic porcelains this piece is hand decorated in famille rose enamels with vivid blue, red, and green pigments portrayed as a stout, smiling, bald monk in robes with a large, exposed pot belly surrounded by five children. Since the stomach is considered the seat of the soul in Chinese beliefs, it demonstrates his open heartedness. His wide smile attracts the children surrounding his body indicating his regard for them and his joy when they encircle him and well as the belief he can bequeath families with children.

  • Vintage Porcelain Elegant Lady with Rose, Chinese Republic


    This Chinese Republic Period delicate porcelain figurine holds a rose at her heart in her right snow white hand, her left arm covered by her shawl resting on a waist-high decorative vase with an opening to hold incense (joss) sticks. Her shawl drapes over her shoulders and lower garment with floral motifs extending to the beaded belt at her waist. The sweet facial expression with slightly smiling bowed lips is framed by her piled hair looped in a chignon over each ear. Given her luxurious garments and accessories, she is an aristocratic woman. The rose was often used on porcelains  during this period, representing eternal spring.  


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