Figure of Boy thumbnail 1
Figure of Boy thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 145

Figure of Boy

1725-1750 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Porcelain figures depicting people and animals were popular products of the ceramic factories in Jingdezhen, south-east China, during the 18th century. They were modelled on existing figures known to Chinese potters, such as deities and mythical animals, or copied from European models introduced by supercargoes.

This figure probably represents one of the hehe erxian or Daoist twins immortals, symbols of harmony in Chinese folk religion. Identical figures were found in the cargo of the Geldermalrsen, a Dutch East India Company vessel that sank in Indonesian waters in 1752. As no mention was made to figures in the Dutch order, it is likely that they were privately purchased.

Figures of several kinds were used as decorative pieces in the residences of European aristocrats and wealthy people, where they were often put on display in the so-called 'porcelain rooms'. One of the largest collection of Chinese porcelain known in Europe belonged to August the Strong of Saxony (d. 1733), who owned more than 21,000 pieces.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Porcelain painted in underglaze blue
Brief Description
Figure of boy, one of a pair, glazed porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, Qing dynasty, ca. 1725-50
Physical Description
Figure of boy, one of a pair, porcelain partly covered with a blue glaze. The figure is hollow-moulded and seated with legs apart and hands raised, the right hand holding a peach, with expressions of laughter on his face, his hair dressed in two buns on either side of the head. He is naked apart from a sash which is tied round the waist with a string.
Dimensions
  • Height: 12cm
Styles
Gallery Label
Seated boy with apron China, Jingdezhen, 1725–50 Museum no. C.28&A-1969. Bequest of Brigadier W.E. Clark(September 2009)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Brigadier W. E. Clark CMG, DSO
Object history
One of a pair. [C.28&A-1969]



In the Tradescant Collection at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford is a closely similar figure with blue sash, the remainder of the figure however being in biscuit. The collection has presented to Ashmolean in 1683.
Historical context
These laughing babies appear to have had a long production period, popular perhaps as gifts to ensure fertility. Examples have been found in various dated shipwrecks, including: the Hatcher Cargo, c. 1643-6, the Ca Mau, c. 1725 and the Geldermalsen, c. 1755. This model is close to those found on the latter.
Subject depicted
Summary
Porcelain figures depicting people and animals were popular products of the ceramic factories in Jingdezhen, south-east China, during the 18th century. They were modelled on existing figures known to Chinese potters, such as deities and mythical animals, or copied from European models introduced by supercargoes.



This figure probably represents one of the hehe erxian or Daoist twins immortals, symbols of harmony in Chinese folk religion. Identical figures were found in the cargo of the Geldermalrsen, a Dutch East India Company vessel that sank in Indonesian waters in 1752. As no mention was made to figures in the Dutch order, it is likely that they were privately purchased.



Figures of several kinds were used as decorative pieces in the residences of European aristocrats and wealthy people, where they were often put on display in the so-called 'porcelain rooms'. One of the largest collection of Chinese porcelain known in Europe belonged to August the Strong of Saxony (d. 1733), who owned more than 21,000 pieces.
Collection
Accession Number
C.28A-1969

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record createdJanuary 6, 2009
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