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Oriental China - The God Of The Learned

( Originally Published 1911 )

Amongst the figures of the gods, in a country where literature is the sole passport to success, where examinations on the knowledge of that literature lasted for days, and where the results of the examinations meant so much, it would be quite natural that a high place should be given to the god of literature. Here we have a magnificent specimen, possibly worth about 4,000. It is a figure, of extraordinary size, of Wan Chong (God of Literature). The robe, of exceptionally brilliant green enamel, is decorated with clouds in aubergine, white, yellow, and black ; the centre having a large panel containing a flying stork and clouds in rouge de fer, yellow, green, and aubergine, on a white ground, the whole of this surrounded by a narrow margin of aubergine and black. Above this panel, and going round the waist, is a girdle in high relief ; this is decorated with small hawthorn blossoms of rouge de fer, raised from a ground of rich aubergine ; the borders of the garment contain hawthorn blossoms in aubergine, yellow, blue, and black, on a deep green ground. The exposed hand, which is movable, is of white biscuit, whilst the face is glazed in white, and the head-dress and feet are of brilliant black enamel. Attention may be called to the sublime expression and modelling of the features in this figure, which can without doubt rank as one of the finest and most important pieces of the period.

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