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Ji Gong Wood Carving

Old Chinese Boxwood Buddha
Ji Gong
Dispensing Wealth to Child
Origin: China, Circa: early 20th century

h.16.5 in.(42cm), w.5.5 in.(14cm) X d.4.5 in (11cm)

Condition: fan missing, o.a. very good!

The 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.

In 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.


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