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10 cm wide

The lion is crafted from a single piece of bamboo root, depicted with its head turned to the right, its front paws holding a pierced brocade ball and a small cub. The face is rendered ferocious with bulging eyes and open mouth revealing the teeth and tongue. The interior is hollowed out and bears traces of lacquer. The material has patinated to a warm tone and smooth surface.

The present bamboo sculpture is in fact a wine cup when turned up side down, the flattened head of the lion acting as a base. The traces of lacquer in the interior indicate that it was once set with a metal liner.


A closely related example, from the collection of Brian McElney, is illustrated in Ip Yee and Laurence C.S. Tam, Chinese Bamboo Carving, Part I, Hong Kong 1978, pl. 104. A further example is published by Paul Moss in The Literati Mode, Chinese Scholar Paintings, Calligraphy and Desk Objects, Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, 1986, p. 168, no. 49.


Acquired from Gerard Hawthorn, London

Formerly in the collection of Robert Blumenfield


Gerard Hawthorn Ltd., Oriental Works of Art, London, 2002, cat. no. 84

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