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Chinese Carved Soapstone Figure of the Daoist Immortal Lu Dongbin

Ca: 17th century


Finely carved in the full round. The Immortal is dressed in finely detailed robes and holds a flywhisk in his left hand, and has a sword on his back.
The stone is of fine beige tone with colored inclusions. The figure retains traces of original polychrome decoration that was applied to the hair and other areas.
Height: 6 1/4 inches (16 cm.)

Soapstone figures of Daoist Immortals were popular in Europe from the 17th century on. Examples can be found in important old collections from the time and they were often placed in Kunstkammers or Collectors' Cabinets from the period. These would have contained a variety of beautiful and exotic objects from around the world.

The quality of many of these figures is notable and similar to high quality porcelain figures that were also popular in Europe at this time. This was a period when Chinese decorative arts, and porcelains in particular, were collected with incredible zeal.

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