Chinese character on his cap reads ‘Buddha’; Ji Gong (1130-1209), the former Buddhist
monk who became a minor Taoist deity through acts of kindness is still a popular
figure in China. A monastic who drank wine and ate meat, he was kicked out of
the Ling Yin Temple for his behavior but continued his pursuit of nirvana through
generosity. After his death he came to be known as a reincarnation of Mahakasyapa,
one of the principle disciples Shakyamuni.
this Chinese carving, made from a light, faintly reddish box wood, Ji Gong hands
money to a small boy beneath the shade of a Ginko tree. The marvelously carved
through wood creates shadows and depth, giving the viewer pause when making sense
of the layered scene. His wine jug rests on the ground, a large coin in his extended
left hand. Off in the distance lies the Ling Yin Temple, perched on the sloped
and beautifully smoothed rock formations. Asides from his missing magic fan (broken
off in his right hand), this piece is in excellent condition.
to Private Collection