Antique Chinese Rosewood Statue
Six Rambunctious Monkeys
Teasing Medicineman and Apprentice
Signed: unsigned. Circa: Meiji, early 1900s'
Condition: thin age cracks, minor imperfections
H 22 in. (56cm), W 11 in. (28cm), D 7 in. (18cm)
The Medicineman in rural China were Daoist magicians, showmen, and salesmen, selling herbal medicine and pills from town to town. Many traveled with his monkey and faithful apprentice, setting up roadside theaters with playful tales that delight children and adults. But everything in life does not always follow as planned.
In this delightful Qing to early republic rosewood carving, the Medicineman's world has turned amusingly chaotic. Three little monkeys are grabbing the peaches on the branch atop of his head, wild boisterously pulling him back as one attempting to escape below his leg. Amid the chaos, his apprentice is struggling to break free from another small monkey seizing his foot. All are under the calmly watchful eyes of a large monkey with a wine gourd on his back. The artist renders this rambunctious mise-en-scene with figurative realism. The figures and movements are swift and torqued. The man's face is sculpted with visceral realism. His expression in comic anguish as his beard is being nearly pulled off by his tormentors. Note that one small and one large monkey, including the pedestal, were originals carved separately. There are a few thin hairlines to this ages-old antique. These minor imperfections diminish little of the magic in this exclusive and spectacular carving.
Estimated Value $1500
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