China; Dehua ware, Fujian Province
Porcelain with clear glaze; H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm)
Square seal: boji yuren
Purchase, Anita M. Linzee Bequest, 1934 (34.13)
This exquisitely fashioned figure is of a quality that until recently had been exclusively associated with the superb porcelain figures made at the Dehua kilns in Fujian Province in the seventeenth century, during the late Ming dynasty. However, recent research has shown that the seal, boji yuren ("the vastly accomplished fisherman"), stamped on its back is one that was used by the potter Su Xuejin (18691919). Su was a late Qing-dynasty master figure modeler at the Dehua kilns and he is known for his excellent imitations of late Ming-dynasty Dehua porcelain sculptures.
The immortal Magu and her fawn is a popular image in China, and her likeness is often given to married couples on auspicious occasions such as their silver or golden wedding anniversaries.